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Statement by Amanda Skinner, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island:

“Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island is disappointed that the Senate has not yet scheduled a Judiciary Committee vote on the Reproductive Privacy Act of 2019 (H 5125A). Planned Parenthood and our partners in the Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom are calling for the public to join us at the State House for an emergency event to #LetItOut on Wednesday, June 5, at 3 p.m.

“It has been almost two weeks since the Senate Judiciary committee voted down the Reproductive Health Care Act of 2019 (S 152A). Since then, Missouri and Louisiana have joined the wave of states enacting unconstitutional restrictions on access to abortion with the goal of bringing a case to the Supreme Court and overturning the federal right to abortion. At the same time, hundreds of Rhode Islanders have shown up at the State House and at events across the state demanding action to protect safe, legal abortion in Rhode Island. On Tuesday, May 21, nearly 100 people joined a spontaneous action outside the State House as part of the national #StoptheBans movement. Then on Thursday, May 23, dozens of high school students held a protest event on the State House stairs and marched through the halls, chanting their hopes for action on the Reproductive Privacy Act.        

“President Dominick Ruggerio, Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey, and Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin have the tools they need to ensure the legislation makes it to the Senate floor. Despite publicly saying they are working to bring H 5125A to a vote, the Democratic leadership team has yet to prioritize protecting access to safe, legal abortion in Rhode Island. With the 2019 General Assembly session nearing its end, now is the time to schedule a committee vote on the RPA. It is urgent that the Senate act on protecting access to safe, legal abortion in Rhode Island.

“The House, led by Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, took action on March 7th by passing the Reproductive Privacy Act on a vote of 44-30. We hope the Senate leadership similarly acts in the interest of those they serve by moving the RPA to the floor. We will be back every day this session and every day next session to fight for the basic right to control one’s own future and decisions of when to grow or start a family. The voters of Rhode Island will remember today when they vote in 2020 elections.

“Planned Parenthood has been here for over 100 years, fighting to protect access to reproductive health care and providing health care. Let’s be clear: abortion is health care, reproductive care is health care, and health care is a human right. 

“On behalf of our 9,000 Rhode Island patients, our dedicated staff of care givers, and our thousands of activists, supporters and donors, we call on the leadership to find a way to bring the RPA before the full Senate without amendments and without delay.”