Thursday, April 13, 2017

H5343 Reproductive Health Care Act

Humanists of Rhode Island (HRI), an affiliate of the American Humanist Association and informed by the same humanist values, affirms the AHA “Resolution on a Woman’s Right to Abortion,” adopted in 1985. The resolution is a broad position paper on abortion rights, similar in scope to Reproductive Health Care Act H5343.

The AHA resolution recognizes the plain facts that “a woman’s right of freedom of choice regarding abortion in the United States is the law” and that all relevant and reputable national surveys consistently show that freedom of choice for abortion is supported overwhelmingly in the United States.” We share grave concerns expressed in the AHA resolution that (1) “women’s rights for freedom of choice have been seriously eroded by governmental actions that restrict and prohibit abortion services to many categories of women, especially the poor,” that (2) “anti-choice adherents are actively terrorizing women’s clinics,” that (3) “women who seek the services of these clinics are vilified and made to feel like criminals,” and that (4) “people who staff these clinics are in daily danger from bomb-throwers and arsonists.”

We share the view affirmed at the AHA 1977 annual conference and reaffirmed in 1985 in support of “responsible motherhood,” and “the moral right of women to freely terminate unwanted pregnancies.” We concur in our opposition to “actions by individuals, organizations, and governmental bodies that attempt to restrict and limit women’s moral right and obligation of responsible parenthood.” We concur with the AHA that women have “the moral right to become pregnant by choice and to become mothers by choice.” As an affiliate of AHA, we join with other organizations in our opposition to “the government’s actions regarding abortion” and in support of “women’s right of choice to terminate a pregnancy within the parameter set up by the Supreme Court in its Roe vs. Wade decision.”

Opposition to abortion rights is almost exclusively rooted in conservative religious doctrine. We share the view of fellow humanists and religious progressives who understand that one person’s religious convictions are not binding on others. There are two alternatives to the abortion question. We can treat women as either competent or incompetent moral agents. Some may object, even on secular grounds, that abortion on demands errs on the side of treating women as infallible. The inevitable consequence of treating women as incompetent, however, is compelling them by law to remain pregnant against their will. This prospect should be abhorrent to anyone who values personal autonomy.

We urge you to support the moral autonomy of Rhode Island women.


Tony Houston

Humanists of Rhode Island

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