Rhode Island Committee Passes Bill to Legalize Abortions Up to Birth, Fund Free Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 5, 2019   |   7:25PM   |   Providence, Rhode Island

A Rhode Island committee today voted to pass a bill to legalize abortion up to birth on Tuesday, despite a strong public outcry against the legislation.

The pro-abortion bill (state Senate Bill 152) before the state Senate Judiciary Committee is similar to the new abortion law in New York. It would allow abortions for basically any reason up to birth, even if Roe v. Wade is overturned, and strike down modest abortion restrictions in the state.

“By sowing false fears, abortion proponents are attempting to massively expand the present abortion license, and to create a first-ever statutory right to abortion in Rhode Island,” Rhode Island Right to Life said in a statement before the vote.

The vote is a disappointment since pro-life voters had lobbied Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, who is pro-life, to not allow a vote on the bill. After he allowed the vote, the House committee approved it 9-7. The bill backed by the House Judiciary Committee now goes to the full general assembly and the state House could vote on it as early as Thursday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was separately holding its own hearing Tuesday on the abortion legislation.

The pro-life group, state Catholic leaders and Republicans are urging pro-lifers to keep voicing their opposition to the bill, according to the Newport Journal. Though lawmakers have made some changes to the bill, the groups said they do little to address pro-lifers’ concerns.

Barth Bracy, lobbyist with Rhode Island Right to Life, said the changes only pretend “to address concerns raised by thousands of Rhode Islanders.”

He pointed to a legal analysis of the bill, which stated, “it is ‘a gross distortion and blatant misrepresentation’ to claim that this ‘slightly revised’ version of the original bill would merely codify the principles of Roe v. Wade. … [The legislation] remains an extreme abortion bill, like its counterparts in New York and Virginia.”

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However, the ACLU and other pro-abortion groups continue to maintain that the bill merely codifies Roe v. Wade in the state, according to the report.

“This is a blatant disregard for the facts,” the pro-abortion group The Womxn Project wrote on Twitter. The bill would “codify Roe, remove unconstitutional laws, protect individual right to abortion until viability, provide medical options [including] abortion after viability to save a woman’s life or health — that’s it.”

But state GOP Chairman Brandon Bell pushed back against the claims and exposed the radical pro-abortion bill for what it is.

“Late term abortions for vague health reasons will now be legal under state law. Unborn children will lose a possible legal protection if their mother is a victim of a crime,” Bell said Saturday, according to the local news. “Taxpayers could now be paying for the abortions of local government employees.”

Rhode Island lawmakers also are considering a second pro-abortion bill, state House Bill 5127, which is similar to the bill before committee Tuesday. Gov. Gina Raimondo, who claims to be Catholic, supports the legislation.

If either bill passes, America could see abortion rates rise after a steady decline for decades. Both are similar to a New York law that Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed in January, legalizing abortion for basically any reason up to birth. The Vermont, Massachusetts and New Mexico legislatures also are considering bills this winter to expand late-term abortions.

ACTION: Contact Rhode Island state lawmakers and urge opposition to the abortion bills.