Carmichael: Women dealing with pregnancy-related crises need options

Carmichael: Women dealing with pregnancy-related crises need options

As a physician and Rhode Island citizen, I support the Reproductive Privacy Act (RPA), currently Senate bill S152A and House bill H5125A.

The decision to have a baby or not is very personal and needs to be protected. While I think we should be working to make for a better and safer world for parents and children, women who need a legal abortion need that process to be safe, private, and timely. With the current political climate, that right is under attack, and current Rhode Island law is insufficiently protective. The RPA does not expand abortion rights, it makes current state law consistent with Roe v. Wade. The right to abortion embodied therein is supported by a large majority of Rhode Islanders.

The predictable failure rate of properly used birth control naturally leads to tens of thousands of unwanted pregnancies across the country every year. For some, that may be a happy mishap, for others it is devastating. Women must be able to have honest conversations with their doctors and safe options to deal with such events.

Having a baby is no small matter, nor is it always safe. I personally had two friends almost die as a result of hemorrhages. Another woman I know had a terrible stroke, leaving her permanently unable to talk, move half her body, or work. And these were wanted pregnancies – how much more horrible would such an event be if a woman were forced to carry a pregnancy that she did not even want? Women who are dealing with pregnancy-related crises need the full measure of options to deal with situations we would wish on no one. Any patient can consult their own religious beliefs and advisors at such a time. People will have different answers to these difficult situations, and this is no time for someone else’s religious doctrine to take precedence.

Paula G. Carmichael M.D.