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Reproductive rights activists demonstrate at Senate caucus

Women’s rights activists are demonstrating for reproductive rights at the Rhode Island Senate Democrats Caucus this afternoon. The Senate Democrats are meeting at a closed caucus to discuss possible resolutions to the budget impasse.

Jordan Hevenor, a member of the Woman Project, said her group is demonstrating because the legislature has been reluctant to put federal Roe v. Wade protections into state law.

“Rhode Island gets an F for our reproductive rights,” Hevenor said. “One reason is we haven’t taken proactive action to ensure that no matter what happens on the federal level, no matter happens at the Supreme Court, the women of Rhode Island still have access to safe and legal abortions here.”

The “F” grade she referred to is from a NARAL Pro-Choice America report, which is based on the fact that 80% of Rhode Island counties don’t have an abortion clinic, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

The Rhode Island Senate passed a bill 28-8 to enshrine Roe v. Wade protections into state law in June, but the bill did not pass in the House.

“The state legislature doesn’t see an imminent threat on this issue, which is why they haven’t taken action,” Hevenor said. “But I think many Rhode Islanders do feel a threat on this issue.”

The Woman Project is demonstrating to remind state leaders that many Rhode Islanders want to see state action on this issue, Hevenor said. She added that they’re also demonstrating to show support for passing a state budget.

The state has been operating at last year’s spending levels since July 1. August 1 is the date when state aid is supposed to be sent out to cities and towns, including schools. Municipalities have expressed fears of receiving less revenue than expected without the new budget.

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