by Steven Ertelt
May 31, 2007
Providence, RI (LifeNews.com) — Nearly 5,000 abortions are done every year in Rhode Island and a state House panel debate a bill last night that would have had the state provide them with information about abortion’s risks and alternatives. The measure, dubbed the Right to Know bill, would make sure women are fully informed beforehand.
The legislation also provides women information about the development of their unborn child, and the kind of pregnancy and medical assistance they can get from various agencies.
Similar bills in other states have been proven to reduce the number of abortions — the West Virginia health department recently reported that abortions dropped 14 percent there after a similar bill was enacted.
Rep. Peter G. Palumbo, a Democrat from Cranston, is the sponsor of the measure, which provide women with 24 hours to read and review the information they receive.
Rhode Island isn’t known as a pro-life state and Palumbo knows his bill — similar to one filed every year that tends to get little traction — needs the support of abortion advocates to get through the legislature.
“Keep an open mind, my pro-choice friends on this committee,” Palumbo told the members of the panel, according to a Providence Journal report. “This bill is designed to help not only the fetuses, but the mothers. If I were a woman going in for an abortion…I’d want to be able to make an informed decision.”
Julie Lamin, who is 39, testified before the committee and said it was the fifth time she has appeared before the legislators to plea for the bill.
She recounted her abortion experience at age 17 and said when she became pregnant she looked in the phone book and located the nearest abortion center. However, staff there never told her about the kind of emotional damage the abortion would take on her and the years of regret she would face.
“I had the abortion. But I didn’t need the abortion,” she told lawmakers. “What I needed to know was that I would suffer anxiety and depression.”
Dr. Chad Lamendola, an East Greenwich physician, also testified for the bill and said that the informed consent procedures at Planned Parenthood there are “incomplete, misleading, and intellectually dishonest.”
Rhode Island Right to Life also strongly supports the legislation and called the bill a "moderate, constitutionally sound" one in an email to its members.
"Rhode Island has the fifth highest abortion rate in America. We need to do what we can to protect human life in the womb and empower women to make their decision in light of the truth," the group said.
It urged lawmakers to help the state join the 27 others that make information on abortion risks and alternatives available to women.
But abortion advocates, including Kristina Diamond, of Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island, testified against the measure and claimed giving women information about abortion’s dangers is "insulting" to women.
The panel wound up voting to hold the bill for further study, which could mean that it won’t approve the legislation and send it on to the full House floor for consideration.
House Speaker William J. Murphy would not tell the Providence paper if he thought the bill would make it out of committee but said it would get a debate and vote if it got to the floor.