Before reading the rest of this piece, whip out your cell phone and call Governor Chafee and tell him to veto the “Choose Life” license plate bill.
Here’s his number: (401) 222-2080
Then email the governor, to remind him of your opposition: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cool. If you haven’t done as I have asked, keep reading, because chances are by the end of this piece, you will want to.
The “Choose Life” license plate bill passed by both houses in the General Assembly yesterday was an example of outrageous legislative hubris combined with laughable incompetence.
Right from the start, in a last minute effort to get away from the church/state implications of giving money to the all-male and Roman Catholic Knights of Columbus, the beneficiary of the State’s largesse was switched to a pregnancy counseling center called CareNet, an Evangelical Christian, faith-based pregnancy crisis center located at 433 Elmwood Ave, a piece of property owned by the Cathedral of Life Christian Assembly.
Essentially, the state has now partnered with a church to further a purely religious enterprise.
This is a clear violation of the First Amendment, a violation of church/state separation, and an insult to anyone in Rhode island, on either side of the abortion issue, who might be actually concerned with women’s health and family planning options. The license plates will do absolutely nothing to reduce abortions in our state. The General Assembly had an opportunity to pass legislation that would reduce unintended pregnancies in our state by funding an expanded family planning program, scooping up $9 in federal funds for every $1 put up by the state, but they punted.
Instead the unbelievable “Choose Life” license plate bill has passed and it’s an insult to any American who actually thinks the Constitution has value. It’s doubly insulting to women.
So what can we do about it?
Turns out there’s plenty we can do.
First, call Governor Chafee and ask that he veto this bill. Here’s his email and phone number: email@example.com (401) 222-2080
Use both, and let your friends know.
Second, if you have time, you can go to the State House and stand with Planned Parenthood tomorrow from about 1pm to 6:30pm. As it says on the event’s Facebook page, “Meet us outside the House chambers on the 2nd floor of the State House. Wear pink or your Planned Parenthood shirt. We will provide signs and shirts to those who don’t have gear.”
Tomorrow, believe it or not, is Rhode Island’s version of the Wendy Davis filibuster. A clear victory on this issue will send an important message to the General Assembly that the citizen’s of Rhode Island want our legislators to tackle real problems, and not fool around with funneling money to their religious allies.