by Paul Zangari, WPRO News
A large crowd gathered on the sidewalk in front of Maria’s Cucina (on Federal Hill, near Olneyville) this evening, where members of the RI Senate leadership were dining, calling upon them to bring abortion-rights legislation to the Senate floor. It could get noisy, with a small brass band often playing, at other times demonstrators chanting, and horns of cars and trucks beeping as they passed by. Diners leaving the restaurant said the clamor on the sidewalk wasn’t heard inside, while neighbors on Broadway seemed to take the events in stride.
Sponsors from the Womxn Project say abortion-rights legislation deserves an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. Co-Director Jocelyn Foye points out that even though the Senate bill, the Reproductive Health Care Act, was voted down in the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, the House bill is still alive. Called the Reproductive Privacy Act, its supporters called vocally for the committee where it currently lies – Senate Judiciary – to send it to the Senate floor.
While nearly all demonstrators outside the restaurant were vocally in favor of protecting the legal status of abortion, at least one was not: Unsuccessful former Compassion Party candidate for governor Anne Armstrong often shouted out her anti-abortion message. Both sides coexisted as dusk began to fall on the rally.