Rhode Island Pro-Life Group to Chafee: Don’t Tax-Fund Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 6, 2011   |   1:18PM   |   Providence, RI

The Rhode Island State Right to Life Committee issued a warning today to pro-abortion Gov. Lincoln Chafee to not do an end-around the state legislature in an attempt to fund abortions with taxpayer money.

The pro-life organization said any attempt to sidestep the General Assembly and usher in public funding for abortion-on-demand by executive order will be challenged legally.

At issue is the failure of the General Assembly to pass a bill establishing a state health benefits exchange in accordance with the new Obamacare law. in April, the state Senate passed that on a 31-6 vote, but the bill never received a vote in the House.

Aligning himself with the opposition of Chafee and Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts, House Speaker Gordon Fox would not allow a vote on the bill because of an amendment that, consistent with state and federal law, prohibits public funds from being used to purchase insurance plans that provide coverage for elective abortion, says RIRTL executive director Barth Bracy.

“It is sad that Gov. Chafee, Lt. Gov. Roberts and Speaker Fox are so committed to abortion that they are willing to prevent the passage of health care reform legislation unless it allows for public funding of elective abortion,” Bracy said in an email to LifeNews. “And it is disturbing to hear in the halls of the State House that Chafee may attempt to bypass the General Assembly and establish a health benefits exchange by executive order.”

Bracy said his organization is seeking an explanation from Director of Administration Richard Licht about his role in the failure of the health benefits exchange legislation. He said Licht was Chafee’s point man on the healthcare reform commission.

During Licht’s confirmation hearing in January, RIRTL expressed concern that his commitments as national chairman of NARAL, one of the nation’s most influential pro-abortion groups, may conflict with his duties to the people of Rhode Island. Now less than six months later health care reform legislation has failed because of a dispute over public funding for elective abortion.

“The majority of state lawmakers want to maintain longstanding prohibitions against public funding for elective abortions,” Bracy concludes. “It is tragic that a small group of determined pro-abortion officials, which includes the national chairman of NARAL, seeks to thwart the will of these lawmakers and may even attempt to bypass the Assembly all together. The good citizens of Rhode Island should not be forced to subsidize other people’s abortions as a condition for health care reform.”

ACTION: Contact Governor Chafee at https://www.governor.ri.gov/contact/ and urge him to oppose funding abortions under Obamacare.