(Providence, R.I.) -- On Wednesday, September 12, 2018, Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island PAC (PPV!RI PAC) celebrated the victories of 15 reproductive health champions in the Democratic primaries along with the re-nomination of Gina Raimondo for Governor of Rhode Island. This total includes four State Senate races and 11 State Representative races. In the 11 races where PPV!RI PAC endorsed candidates were facing an opponent endorsed by anti-choice organizations, RI voters chose seven pro-choice candidates, including defeating two incumbents, and the four losses were to incumbents.
“These results show that Rhode Island voters support candidates who are proud champions of reproductive freedom. Gov. Raimondo and the House and Senate candidates are committed to passing the Reproductive Health Care Act and protecting the reproductive freedom of Rhode Islanders, including access to safe, legal abortion, from the attacks by President Trump and his allies in Congress,” said Amanda Skinner, PPV!RI PAC member and CEO of Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island (PPV!RI).
“In 2016, voters chose nine new champions of reproductive freedom for the General Assembly. In the two special elections for State Senate since then, both women ran as proud, pro-choice candidates and beat opponents who oppose reproductive freedom,” said Craig O’Connor, Treasurer of PPV!RI PAC. “Last night, voters showed that they support allies of reproductive health care and will do so again in November. We look forward to the 2019 General Assembly session and working with our allies on expanding access to reproductive health care, including safe, legal abortion, family planning services and comprehensive sexual health education.”
“Planned Parenthood, our patients, staff and thousands of Rhode Island activists and donors are especially excited to see so many women step up to run – and win,” added Skinner. “We need the strong leadership of Gov. Raimondo and our endorsed candidates. The four Democrats who control the Rhode Island General Assembly, all men, refuse to protect reproductive freedom, including access to safe, legal abortion. Their refusal to act in the 2018 General Assembly session places them closer to Donald Trump than to the platform of the Democratic Party they lead. We encourage Rhode Island voters to remember this as they vote in the general election this fall.”
The need to act in Rhode Island is clear. NARAL Pro-Choice America gave RI an F rating in 2016 – the same grade as Texas, South Carolina and Oklahoma. The Rhode Island state constitution says, in its section on equal protection and due process, that “Nothing in this section shall be construed to grant or secure any right relating to abortion or the funding thereof.”
The Trump Administration, and its allies in Congress, have waged an assault on reproductive freedom for years. Their efforts include attempts to defund Planned Parenthood by stripping away protections for contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act; and instituting a domestic “gag rule” on Title X, the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care.
The “gag rule” would make it illegal for doctors and nurses across the country to tell their patients how to access abortion safely and legally. Currently, the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court threatens reproductive rights, including access to safe, legal abortion, and civil rights for people of color, immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community and more.
“Rhode Island voters made their support for reproductive freedom clear during the primary. We fully expect the Rhode Island General Assembly to respect the voters of this state and pass the Reproductive Health Care Act. We are excited about these new pro-women’s health candidates who will be vocal leaders in the General Assembly this year and work to improve the NARAL score,” O’Connor said. “We are confident these champions of reproductive freedom will work to preserve and expand access to full reproductive health care services for the people of Rhode Island.”
PPV!RI PAC is the Rhode Island state political action committee affiliated with Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island.
PPV!RI is the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.