Rhode Island Senate Advances Bill Forcing Taxpayers to Fund Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 17, 2023   |   12:05PM   |   Providence, Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Senate advanced an unpopular pro-abortion bill Tuesday that would force taxpayers to pay for unborn babies to be killed in elective abortions.

WLNE reports the state Senate Judiciary Committee voted 7-6 to pass Senate Bill 32, despite widespread opposition.

The bill passed the state House in April, and the full Senate is scheduled to vote on its final approval Thursday. If enacted, the bill would force taxpayers to fund abortions through the state Medicaid program and government employee health insurance plans.

After the vote, the Rhode Island State Right to Life Committee slammed Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and Sen. Ryan Pearson, D-Cumberland, for supporting the bill after calling themselves pro-life for many years.

Ruggerio defended his vote in a statement this week, claiming the bill is “a simple insurance equity measure.”

“The bottom line for me is that I want state employees and individuals on Medicaid to have access to the same health insurance benefits as all other Rhode Islanders,” he said.

But killing unborn babies in abortions is not health care – something tens of thousands of doctors confirm.

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“Abortion is not health care because killing is not healing,” the state right to life organization responded after the vote.

Rhode Island Right to Life said the bill would remove “statutory prohibitions … that have been in place since the seventies” and force taxpayers to fund abortion on demand.

“Please keep in mind that these prohibitions already permit state funding for abortions performed in the so-called hard cases of rape, incest, life of mother,” the pro-life organization said in an email to supporters.

The pro-life organization thanked the lawmakers who voted against the radical pro-abortion bill: Sens. Anthony DeLuca, Frank Lombardi, Leonidas Raptakis, David Tikoian, Senate Minority Leader Jessica de la Cruz and Minority Whip Gordon Rogers.

It urged Rhode Islanders to contact their state senators and respectfully urge them to oppose the taxpayer-funded abortion bill.

Gov. Daniel Mckee, a pro-abortion Democrat, supports the bill, but many others, including Democrats and Republicans, have voiced opposition to the radical measure. Previous attempts to pass similar bills have failed since 2020, according to the Brown Daily Herald.

“People are taxed out,” state Rep. Charlene M. Lima, D-Cranston, said on the House floor in April. “They’re tired.”

Lima, a Democrat who describes herself as pro-choice, said taxpayers should not be forced to pay for something that they believe is morally wrong, according to the report.

The state should not “mandate taxpayers who, for personal reasons or religious reasons, do not agree with abortion to have to pay for it,” she continued. “It is so easy to spend money when it’s not yours. If the 50-something people on this floor want to pay for abortion … use your money, not the taxpayer’s money.”

Polls consistently show strong public opposition to taxpayer-funded abortionsA recent Marist poll found 60 percent of Americans oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions in the U.S. Additionally, 78 percent oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions in other countries.

At the federal level, the Hyde and Helms Amendments prohibit federal taxpayer funding for elective abortions in Medicaid and overseas programs. However, states can force their residents to pay for abortions with state tax dollars and 16 currently do.

ACTION ALERT: To oppose the legislation, please Contact Rhode Island state senators.