Planned parenthood of Southern New England, in conjunction with Lake Research Partners released a poll yesterday that should “turn conventional wisdom on its head,” according to pollster Celinda Lake. When asked, an overwhelming majority of Rhode Islanders feel it is important for women to have access to all reproductive health care options, including abortion.
More amazingly for a state that is supposed to be conservative on this issue, 71% of Rhode Islanders strongly agree that there should be a law passed that “protects the right of residents to make private medical decisions, including the decision about an abortion, in the event that federal laws or policies change.” In other words, if the Supreme Court were to reverse Roe v Wade, Rhode Islanders want to preserve abortion rights at the state level.
Those who believe abortion should be generally available outnumber opponents by a staggering 8 to 1, higher than most places in the country. Even among Catholics the numbers are completely lopsided in favor of abortion.
There is just no question that Rhode Island is a state that respects medical privacy and a woman’s right to choose. Why then, is there such a disconnect between the views of the Rhode Island populace and their elected officials? It possibly has to do with fact that there hasn’t been this kind of polling in Rhode Island for very many years. Politicians try to tailor their views to the electorate. Also, most people who favor abortion simply assume that this right is theirs and not in danger of being legislatively restricted, while those who oppose abortion are very vocal for such a tiny minority.
Let this poll be a wake up call to the General Assembly to stop introducing bills that seek to limit or eliminate women’s rights and instead begin the process of expanding access to health care for all Rhode Islanders. This is what Rhode Island wants, after all. It turns out to be one of our core values.
This first video is a short clip detailing the astounding results of the poll, the second is the full press conference from beginning to end.