The Reproductive Health Care Act of 2017 (SB 274 and HB 5343) which would codify Roe v Wade into Rhode Island state law, got a boost this weekend at a State House when over one hundred women and supporters participated in the Our Voice, Our Choice, art-in to support reproductive rights.
The sponsors of the Reproductive Health Care Act, Representative Edie Ajello (Democrat District 1, Providence) and Senator Gayle Goldin (Democrat District 3, Providence), both spoke about the importance of passing this legislation due to the avowed efforts of the Donald Trump administration to weaken such rights through judicial appointments.
“It is so important, and we need to let all the folks in that building know how important the Reproductive Freedom Act is to us in Rhode Island,” said Ajello, gesturing towards the State House behind her. “We have an unpredictable president. Every day, every week he seems to do something that we never thought, never imagined he would do. We imagine that he will do everything he can to get a Supreme Court that will undo he Roe v Wade rights that we have treasured since 1973.”
The bill is opposed by RI Right to Life and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, groups whose influence on members of the State House far outweigh their support among Rhode Islanders.
The event was put together by The Woman Project HQ, a group that describes itself as “five women who went to bed in horror on November 8th, and woke up with a vision. Though miles apart at the time, we each woke up strong and more committed than ever to fighting for women. We knew that if we started reaching out to other woman we could become catalysts for protecting the rights we envisioned would be attacked… The Woman Project will celebrate, educate and act on behalf of all women.”
Stations were set up around the State House lawn where people were encouraged to participate in family yoga, a may pole, a knitting circle, and lots of other activities. Girls Rock! Rhode Island, the Shimmy Mob and the What Cheer? Band provided entertainment.
The event was family friendly with a Maypole and other activities for children.
A giant petition in support of the legislation, to be delivered to legislators today at 3:30 at the State House, was taped to the stairs and signed by those in attendance.
A “Story Wall” was set up along the stairs underneath the statue of Nathaniel Greene. Hand crafted notes were displayed containing “personal experiences, thoughts and opinions of women in RI in support of The Reproductive Health Care Act.” The stories will be made into a book to be delivered to the legislature.