Letter: Taxpayer-funded abortion hearing was Kabuki theater

Posted 3/13/23

To the editor:

The well-scripted and choreographed Kabuki theater at the House Judiciary Committee hearing March 6 for House Bills 5006, 5047, and 5228 was disheartening. Repetitious, …

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Letter: Taxpayer-funded abortion hearing was Kabuki theater


To the editor:

The well-scripted and choreographed Kabuki theater at the House Judiciary Committee hearing March 6 for House Bills 5006, 5047, and 5228 was disheartening. Repetitious, clichéd, buzzwords flourished. No disappointment to live the rest of our lives without hearing “underserved,” “marginalized,” “bodily autonomy,” or “equity” ever again. Featured in the tedium were the exaggerations and transparent falsehoods the advocates for 5006 and opponents of 5047 and 5228 hammered home. 

HB 5006 proposes taxpayer-funded abortions, while the other two bills would require medical personnel to give compassionate and competent medical care to the occasional infants who survive abortions.

Two oft-heard untruths were predictably rolled out. A well-dressed patrician pronounced with certainty that the most prominent state right to life organization was founded by a group of “celibate men,” and she said it only wanted to maintain pregnancies, losing all interest after the births. 

Rhode Island Right to Life (RIRTL) was founded prior to the Roe v. Wade decision by three “lionesses” of the pro-life cause: Anna Sullivan, Diane Manning, and JoAnne McOsker, all mothers and warriors. A common “pro-choice” ploy is to bracket pro-life citizen activism as the work of religious zealots. 

The second charge, often repeated, was also exposed as a lie when three devoted young women who help staff RIRTL testified to the over 2,400 office visits, 10,000 phone calls, and well over $100,000 worth of donated material assistance distributed to disadvantaged mothers in 2022. Counseling, referrals for housing and medical care, and just being there to offer support six days a week. Can they ever let this ugly demeaning narrative go?

The second most vexing act was the glibness, smugness, and condescension of some of the testimony from academics and even ministers. One particularly annoying discourse was another commonly promoted hypocrisy: the depersonalization of the unborn baby. When one started in about the absence of “ontological personhood” in the pre-born, eyes glazed over. 

With other issues, such as climate change, many of these same folks are quick to charge dissenters as “science-deniers.” In the debate over pre-born lives, their advocacy for science disappears as they ignore every embryology text in the land that demonstrates new human life is formed upon conception with her own unique DNA and is on a sure continuum to adulthood if uninterrupted by disease or violence. They understandably prefer to wax eloquently about “ontological personhood.”

And so, we come to the “elephant in the womb.” What is abortion and why would citizens object to being made complicit in it through their taxes? What is the “rerum natura” of the act? The nature of the act is to end the life of a powerless tiny one by bigger persons. Or the state.

Much was made by proponents of taxpayer-funded abortions that these choices are never “just for convenience.” The mothers agonize over these difficult decisions. Point taken. But why is that? No mother is cavalier about ending the life of the baby within her womb. Of course, she isn’t.

With such dire need for housing for mothers, better food options, medical care for her and her baby, childcare for mother’s hours education to help women gain independence, why is there not similar zeal for those by the proponents of taxpayer-funded abortion? Could it be because abortions are much cheaper, the problem conveniently discarded in the dark?

Is the best we can come up with as state funded “compassionate care” for a disadvantaged woman with an unexpected pregnancy an offer to pay for her to kill her child? 

Jack and Rita Parquette

15 Birch St.


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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.