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  • jamiehagen

Speaking at RI State House In Support of Abortion Access

This year is a big year in the Rhode Island state house when it comes to abortion access. I had the opportunity to share my testimony in January. I've long spoken out about the need to protect access to abortion, but this was the first time I was compelled to provide testimony on why it matters so much to me. 

The state house was much more hostile then I anticipated. I've been involved in many different forms of protest and political action yet the energy at the state house in Providence in January was unlike anything I'd experienced before. At one point the state house erupted with chanting for the two opposing sides. Indeed although I rarely see anything as being a true binary, the chanting for and against the bill felt very palpably divided into two distinct sides. Although the Reproductive Health Care Act (RHCA) is simply meant to codify Roe V. Wade at the state level should there be any rolling back of rights on the federal level, many people in the state of Rhode Island see this as an opportunity to renegotiate abortion protections. 

Fortunately there was a lot of momentum to speak up on behalf of reproductive health care and abortion access in part due to the work of organizations like The Womxn Project who are working hard to clarify what is at stake, as well as what exactly the RHCA is:

Audita Guha has also been covering the way that these debates are taking shape at different state houses including in New York for Rewire, where she writes, "That right is at the highest risk in 22 states that could ban abortion outright, and it appears secure in 21 states, according to a breakdown by the Center for Reproductive Rights. The risk level takes into account how progressive or conservative the state legislatures are, whether the state protects abortion through its constitution or statutes beyond Roe, and if the state has anti-abortion laws on the books."

You can see a clip of me speaking here and read my full testimony below: 

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