PHOTO (L to R): Representative Anastasia Williams, Dr. Beth Cronin, Amanda Skinner, Dr. Leana Wen, and Senator Melissa Murray.
Dr. Leana Wen and Amanda Skinner join Senator Murray, Representative Williams, and members of the Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom to support passing S152A
(Providence, RI) – Today, Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), and Amanda Skinner, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE) joined with Senator Melissa Murray (D-24 Woonsocket, North Smithfield), cosponsor of the Reproductive Health Care Act (RHCA) and Chairwoman Anastasia Williams (D-2 Providence), sponsor of the Reproductive Privacy Act (RPA), and members of the Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom to urge the Senate Committee on Judiciary to pass the RHCA. A press conference was held from 2:30 to 3:15 PM, in the State House Library.
The Reproductive Health Care Act, S152A, codifies the right to safe, legal abortion—guaranteed by the Supreme Court—into Rhode Island state law. The act also repeals existing laws and statues already declared unconstitutional by state courts. The bill was introduced by Senator Gayle Goldin with a record 16 cosponsors on January 24, 2019 and referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, pending a public hearing and vote, before it can reach the Senate floor.
“With reproductive freedom under constant attack from the federal government, it is more important now than ever for the Senate Committee on Judiciary to pass the Reproductive Health Care Act and send the bill to the chamber for a full vote,” said Amanda Skinner, President and CEO of PPSNE. “Rhode Island residents overwhelmingly support access to safe, legal abortion. We need the Senate to listen to their constituents and take action to pass the RHCA now.”
“In 2019, already more than 250 bills have been introduced across the country that directly restrict abortion access. With Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, the landscape for women is even more dire. States are a critical backstop to protecting the right to safe, legal abortion,” said PPFA President Dr. Leana Wen. “It’s Rhode Island’s turn to stop politicians from directly interfering with medical practice and endangering women’s lives. We urge the Senate to stand with us and vote to protect women’s health and the health of families and communities.”
“All individuals have the right to bodily autonomy, and a woman should always have control and say over when and if she wants to have children,” said Senator Melissa Murray. “We need to trust women. Trust them to manage their own health, to make their own decisions, to plan their families and their futures, and to do what is best for them in their own circumstances.”
“Abortion, like pap smears and prenatal care, is essential health care,” said Dr. Beth Cronin, Vice-Chair of the Rhode Island Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “Protecting an individual’s right to end a pregnancy is necessary for the health and well-being of all pregnant individuals. The Reproductive Health Care Act is vital to ensuring everyone has access to the full range of medical treatment options.”
On March 7, advocates celebrated the passage of the Reproductive Privacy Act (H2125A), sponsored by Representative Anastasia Williams, chairwoman of the House Committee on Labor. The bill passed with a vote of 44-30, including 60 percent of all Democrats in the chamber and 21 of the 26 women in the House.
“This is our moment to make the change that needs to be made. We are halfway there, and we cannot allow anyone to stop us,” said Representative Anastasia Williams. “We need to celebrate once we accomplish this in the Senate. We have waited long enough—and we’re ready.”
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England is a member of the Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, a group of organizations fighting to protect access to essential reproductive health care through legislation and advocacy. For nearly 100 years, PPSNE has served the southern New England region, providing high-quality, non-judgmental reproductive health care at 17 health centers across Connecticut and Rhode Island. Each year, 75,000 patients turn to PPSNE for a range of critical, life-saving health care services, including cancer screenings, abortion services, annual exams Pap tests, birth control, and STD/STI testing and treatment—regardless of their ability to pay. For information on Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, visit ppsne.org.