To my friends, family, and constituents,
I write to you today to explain why I voted in support of the “Reproductive Privacy Act” which codifies in state law the privacy rights and reproductive freedoms guaranteed by the United States Supreme Court in the case Roe v. Wade.
First, I know this is a very deeply passionate issue on both sides of the abortion debate. It was an issue that was very difficult to navigate but my decision to vote in favor of this legislation became clear to me leading up to the vote in the House Judiciary Committee and then later on the House floor.
I came to my decision to vote in favor of this bill in committee and in the full House session due to many different factors in my role as a state representative. I considered the testimony I listened to during the hours long committee meeting, the legal opinions on both sides of the issue, the four and a half hour House floor debate, and most importantly as a representative, the overwhelming constituent input I have received during this process. I took all these factors into consideration while also trying to put aside the widespread misinformation and propaganda that has been put forth during the legislative process.
To be completely honest and truthful, the decision to support this legislation was the hardest vote I have ever taken in my seven year career at the State House due to the issue’s complexity and my own personal views regarding abortion in our state.
The purpose for writing this letter is because I am well-aware of the differing passions on this issue, and while everyone may not all agree, and some may be very disappointed in my decision, please know that I understand and respect everyone’s view point on this divisive issue. I spent hours discussing the issue with close family members who are ardently pro-life, as well as, family members who are pro-choice. My decision to support this legislation came to be because in the end, after taking into consideration so many different arguments and factors, I believe that women should have complete autonomy over their own bodies. That is their right, just as I expect to have the ability to make my own decisions regarding my own body.
This was not an easy decision for me, but it is a vote I will stand by and I wanted to share with you my reasoning for this difficult decision.
Dennis M. Canario
RI Representative – District 71
Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton