Rhode Island lawmakers are expected to vote Tuesday on a radical pro-abortion bill that would legalize abortion for basically any reason up to birth. The vote comes just days after New York voted to legalize abortions up to birth and after a New Mexico committee did the same thing.
Abortion activists in the state said they are hopeful that the legislation will pass, The Narragansett Times reports.
“We’re optimistic,” said Jordan Hevenor, co-director of The Womxn Project. “We feel really good about the momentum and energy surrounding the legislation this year.”
Pro-abortion Democrats control both state houses, and Gov. Gina Raimondo supports it. Lawmakers have indicated that the legislation is a priority, because they are afraid the new conservative U.S. Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade in the near future.
Sponsors include Kathleen Fogarty (Dist. 35, South Kingstown), Teresa Tanzi (Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and Carol Hagan McEntee (Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett), and senators Susan Sosnowski (Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) and Bridget Valverde (Dist. 35, East Greenwich, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Narragansett), according to the report.
The Providence Journal reports there are two competing pro-abortion bills in the Rhode Island House. State Rep. Edith Ajello’s bill is the more radically pro-abortion of the two. It also is the one that Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union support.
Both bills appear to allow restrictions for late-term abortions, but they add a broad “health” exception for abortions after viability. The exception would allow women to abort unborn babies up to nine months of pregnancy for basically any “health” reason, including “age, economic, social and emotional factors,” a definition given by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Doe v. Bolton. Ajello’s bill also would allow partial-birth abortions.
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Here’s more from the report:
The other, sponsored by the new House labor chairwoman, Anastasia Williams (and four other Mattiello backers), is the more likely of the two to pass in some fashion.
The Williams bill covers some of the same ground, prohibiting the state or “any of its agencies” from interfering with a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy “prior to fetal viability,” or “after fetal viability when necessary to preserve the health or life” of the mother.
In the lead-up to the rally, the coalition backing Ajello’s bill distributed the reasons the ACLU of Rhode Island says Williams’ bill [H5125] “falls short.”
The ACLU said the Ajello version [H5127] has two main goals: to codify the Roe v. Wade protections and repeal all state statutes that have been deemed unconstitutional but remain on the books.
The Williams bill does not do that, the ACLU said. It instead preserves “two anti-choice measures previously recognized as unconstitutional,” including a “willful killing of unborn quick child” law and a “Partial Birth Abortion Act.”
While both bills would be bad for Rhode Island women and children, Ajello’s bill would be the worst, stripping away even minor, common-sense regulations – ones that a strong majority of Americans support.
For example, the “willful killing” law that the ACLU opposes is a fetal homicide law that does not even involve abortion. Rhode Island is one of 38 states that recognize the unlawful killing of an unborn baby as homicide in at least some circumstances. These laws provide justice for pregnant mothers whose unborn babies are killed by abusive partners, drunken drivers or others whose illegal actions cause the death of the unborn baby.
The ACLU claims such laws are problematic because they treat “a fetus as a person.”
If the bill passes, America could see abortion rates rise after a steady decline for decades. Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a similarly radical pro-abortion bill, legalizing abortion for basically any reason up to birth. The Vermont and New Mexico legislatures are considering similar legislation this winter.
ACTION: Contact Rhode Island lawmakers and urge strong opposition to these bills.