Sunday, April 10, 2005

Women's Right to Know Act

On Tuesday, April 12th the Women's Right to Know Act (H-5144) shall be heard by the House Health, Education, and Welfare Committee. We need to support this bill that ensures that every woman who has an abortion in Rhode Island will have all available information about the procedure and its consequences prior to her abortion. Here are the specs of the bill:

  • Certain information, including the name of the physician, medical risks associated with the abortion, estimate of gestational age of unborn child, among others, must be dessiminated to the woman by telephone or in person at least 24 hours prior to the abortion by a physician
  • Other information such as medical assistance options available to the woman and/or unborn child, the liability of the father, and information concerning alternatives to abortion
  • Provides system for gathering information concerning abortions in RI
  • Provides penalties up to and including felony charges for physicians who do not follow certain stipulations within the bill
  • Provides civil recourse for affected fathers/grandparents

Overall, I like this bill. Abortion rights advocates always say 'My body, my choice.' Well this legislation says 'My body. My 'informed' choice.' It doesn't restrict abortions. It also provides for circumventing the informative clauses in cases of medical emergencies. Not only that, it requires the Department of Health to gather AND publish statistical data relevant in understanding percentages of women who receive/decline abortions after being 'informed' by their physicians.

By making this law, we help women and their would-be families. Shouldn't women know if there is assistance during prenatal and neonatal stages? Shouldn't women know that the fathers ARE liable to support their babies? And shouldn't women know the risks associated with future pregnancies after having an abortion? The answer is yes, yes, and yes. Let's be a state that enables women to make 'their choice' an informed one-not simply one of fear without knowledge.

Lives are depending on it.


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