In response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down the 1973 Roe v Wade opinion that protected a pregnant person’s right to abortion for more than 50 years, The Womxn Project organized a protest at the Rhode Island State House which attracted over 1500 people. Although the right to abortion is protected, for now, under Rhode Island law, across the country, states are moving quickly to ban abortion, and plans are underway to enact cruel laws. which can lead to imprisonment for women who seek an abortion illegally in their state or travel to a place where abortion is still legal to terminate a pregnancy.
Earlier today, The Womxn Project released the following statement:
“The Supreme Court of the United States has just struck down Roe and Casey. A precedent for 50 years. There is so much more to be said, but know that the impact will be swift and devastating. This ruling will not only severely limit access to abortion in at least 26 states and territories, but will exacerbate existing barriers, especially for people of color, low-income people and immigrants.
“Hostile states will probably try to ban abortion, but here in Rhode Island, because of the work we’ve done together for decades and the passing of the reproduction in 2019 abortion is legal and we still have the right to do so yes this should be a comfort to anyone in need of care or will need or want to terminate a pregnancy in the coming days but it is also a call to action We need to speak out loud and clear that abortion IS a right and should be available to everyone, everywhere.
“That means investing in abortion funds and support networks that will work hard to make sure people can get care. It also means holding accountable the politicians in Congress and here who haven’t done more – haven’t done their job to protect our rights and not only ensure, but expand access. A majority of Rhode Islanders supported the Equal Abortion Coverage Act and a majority of the 2022 General Assembly signed it into law, but Governor McKee, House Speaker Joe Shekarchi and Senate Speaker Dominick Ruggerio haven’t done the job. The governor allowed passage of a budget that denied abortion insurance benefits to state employees and people who use Medicaid, and leaders refused to allow the bill to pass. Despite constant public outcry, they failed to ensure that the right we worked so hard to protect would become real for people facing financial barriers. Well trust that we will remember that in the next election. We will remember — and call on — every elected official who stood in the way of doing more to ensure real access to abortion care.
“But getting rid of the coverage ban is not enough. The Womxn project and our partners demand more. We will continue to educate, organize and mobilize to get rid of the policy that forces young people to involve a parent and puts care out of reach. We will expand who can provide abortion care to expand access to services. We’ll address the laws that fuel mass incarceration, but also ensure that if the state puts people behind bars, they don’t lose their humanity or access to the full range of reproductive health care they need. need, including abortion. We will shine a light on the harms of fake clinics and ensure they are not given public funds to prey on people who need real healthcare and accurate information. We will work with our partners and volunteers to do everything we can to ensure that regardless of age or income, race or immigration status, people will get the information, support and services they need. to plan their family, manage their health, and plan their family and their future. NO MATTER WHAT WE TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES!
“But speaking out and advocating for abortion rights and reproductive health information and care is not enough. Access to abortion is one of many fundamental rights under attack in the United States, including our right to vote, racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and a host of other rights related to our right to freedom on which Roe v. Wade was grounded, like contraception. and marriage equality. This fight is about more than abortion – although it is also about being unequivocally in favor of abortion when someone wants care.
“Let’s be clear, this judgment is truly catastrophic, but the work and the fight are not over. It will never be over. We will continue to speak out and come forward to ensure that we are in control of our bodies, our families and our futures – that we can all live healthy and dignified lives. We are not dependent on courts and politicians. We depend on each other! And that’s what gives us hope – that together we’re strong. We have seen time and time again how incredible progress is possible when we leverage our collective strength.
The rally/protest began with an introduction by Emily Boucher, Board Member of The Womxn Project.
Jocelyn Foye is the Managing Director of The Womxn Project:
Weayonnoh Nelson-Davies is the executive director of the Economic Progress Institute
Reverend Dr. Donnie Anderson, representing the RI Women’s Democratic Caucus:
Dr. Mark Ryan of the RI Healthcare Access and Affordability Partnership
Kat, from the Party for Socialism and Liberation:
Jennifer Rourke, Board Member of The Womxn Project:
A musical interlude by the Latin Baroque Fusion Band:
Bella Robinson, Executive Director of Coyote RI:
Charlotte Gagnon, from The Womxn Project and Haus of Codec:
Jackie Anderson, Labor and Delivery Nurse:
Already, eight years:
Reverend Denis Paul of the South County Unitarian Universalists:
Gretchen Raffa of Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island:
Angela McCalla of the Women’s Fund of Rotary:
Dr. Ogechukwu Uwanaka, MD:
Alicia Gauvin General Manager at SHIP:
Stephanie Olarte, Board Member of The Womxn Project:
Jocelyn Foye is the Managing Director of The Womxn Project:
During the broadcast, there was an altercation at the edge of the crowd between members of the right-wing Freedom Fighters and people present at the rally. Details are unclear at the time of this writing, but it appears that several assaults have taken place, including one in which rally speaker and candidate for political office Jennifer Rourke was assaulted by a police officer. Providence police on leave for the same seat. Providence newspaper reporter Amy Russo and freelance journalist Bill Bartholowmew have more on this. At one point, one of the “freedom fighters” was apparently punched by an unknown assailant. The clip below is from the scene of the event, where Emily Boucher repeatedly tells the crowd not to touch the counter-protesters.