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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Happy Anniversary

On the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Justice (formerly RI Choice Coalition) continues to stand with women and their families to reinforce the importance of safe and legal abortion.  The coalition is pleased to announce its new name on this important anniversary and to recognize the significance of working toward reproductive justice beyond access to abortion.  

Reproductive Justice takes into account the multiple identities of a person and the social context in which they live and how that impacts their access to healthcare.  As a coalition we are committed to ensuring Rhode Islanders are able to make decisions concerning their reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence.

Coalition leaders are working actively in the legislature and the community to preserve women’s access to a wide range of health care options and to advocate for affordable, quality healthcare for all.  In addition, a new organization, Rhode Island Clergy for Reproductive Choice has been formed and will work in concert with the Reproductive Justice Coalition to bring faith voices into our advocacy and grassroots work on these important issues.

Despite a woman’s constitutional right to make her own personal medical decisions without interference from politicians, access to safe and legal abortion is still at risk in legislatures across the country including our own. Rhode Island is one of 22 states – and the only state in New England – that the Guttmacher Institute designates as “hostile” to women’s reproductive health.

Recent public opinion research conducted by Planned Parenthood Federation of America concluded that the way in which people identify with the issue of abortion has shifted over the years. 

Labels like “pro-choice” and “pro-life” no longer reflect the way most people think about the complex decision-making that is required when women consider abortion. Americans recognize that these decisions are deeply personal, and should be left to a woman to decide in consultation with her family, physician and faith.