The following is an open letter to Catholic Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo from Barth Bracy, the executive director of Rhode Island Right to Life:
As you know, Governor Raimondo, the COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recommend the postponement of all non-essential surgeries, procedures, and visits, both dental and medical. Many Rhode Islanders have been notified that their often-serious procedures have been rescheduled into June, and even later, because their condition is not immediately life-threatening.
Yet even as we all sacrifice to minimize the loss of life to COVID-19, the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Providence continues to commit as many as 20 to 40 surgical abortions each week, exposing both staff and clientele to COVID-19, and using personal protective equipment (PPE) so desperately needed to protect health care professionals caring for COVID-19 patients in Rhode Island hospitals.
Knowing that you were able to compel religious leaders to cancel all public services in Rhode Island, including those of the Christian Holy Week and even the distribution of palms, we hope you will also be able to compel Brett Smiley, your Director of Administration and the Corporate Treasurer of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, to halt the abortions Planned Parenthood performs in Rhode Island and to turn over their PPE to local hospitals. The suspension of constitutional rights in the exercise of your emergency powers must not be arbitrary or subjective, after all. Being that Mr. Smiley stands by your side during your daily COVID-19 press briefing, we trust this should not require much effort.
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And one more thing… the budget you submitted to the presently-suspended General Assembly includes language to impose, under Rhode Island state law, the so-called “HHS Mandate” that was rejected under federal law by the U.S. Supreme Court. Your proposed mandate would compel the Little Sisters of the Poor in Pawtucket, Hobby Lobby in Warwick, and other organizations, small family-run businesses, and individuals throughout the state to provide drugs, devices, and services, including abortifacients, in violation of their conscience and their deeply held religious convictions. Considering the hardships already being suffered in the present crisis, we urge you to withdraw your proposed mandate so as not to heap further burdens upon the people of Rhode Island.
Thank you for your immediate and serious consideration of our requests.