Rhode Island Pro-Lifers Prepared for Chafee Funding Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 17, 2011   |   3:44PM   |   Providence, RI

The state pro-life group in Rhode Island is prepared for pro-abortion Gov. Lincoln Chafee to force state residents to pay for abortions via their tax dollars, and it is acting proactively.

The Rhode Island State Right to Life Committee (RIRTL) has retained Providence-based constitutional lawyer Joseph Larisa to challenge an executive order expected imminently from  Chafee. At issue is whether the governor has legal authority to create an American Health Benefits Exchange in Rhode Island by Executive Order, despite the rejection by the General Assembly of legislation creating the exchange in the recent legislative session.

The Health Benefits Exchange is the centerpiece of ongoing efforts to restructure the national health care delivery system via Obamacare and, because the law has no protections in place preventing taxpayer funding of abortions, states are free to fund abortions under the law.

RIRTL executive director Barth Brace explains to LifeNews that the Rhode Island Senate passed the Health Benefits Exchange Act April 5 on a 31-6 vote, but the legislation never made it to the floor of the state House because Speaker Gordon Fox joined Chafee and Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts an opposing language in the Act that, consistent with longstanding state and federal law, prohibits government funds from being used to purchase health insurance plans that provide coverage for elective abortion.

“Chafee, Roberts and Fox are apparently so committed to public funding for abortion-on-demand that they are willing to attempt a subversion of constitutional powers in support of their agenda. Rhode Island Right to Life will spare no effort in opposing them,” Bracy said today.

Larisa commented on the dustup as well, saying, “It is a fundamental principle of both American and Rhode Island constitutional law that the legislature enacts the laws, the Governor executes the laws and the courts interpret the laws.”

“The majority of state lawmakers want to maintain longstanding prohibitions against public funding for elective abortion. It is tragic that a small group of determined pro-abortion officials is attempting an end-run around the General Assembly and around the Rhode Island Constitution in order to force Rhode Islanders to subsidize other people’s abortions under the guise of health care reform,” Bracy added.

“Here the General Assembly considered and refused to adopt a health benefits exchange — and its own bill correctly declared that legislation is required to create the exchange to meet federal requirements,” the attorney explained. “Moreover, it appears that all other states that have created an exchange have done so pursuant to legislative action. Absent action by the General Assembly, the Governor does not possess constitutional or statutory authority to unilaterally create an exchange.”

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