Law & the Courts

Abortion Extremism Comes to Rhode Island

(Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

In Rhode Island, legislators are considering a bill to put their state on par with New York by repealing nearly all existing protections for unborn life. It is part of a national campaign by Democrats to use deceptive marketing to enshrine a regime of elective abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.

The Reproductive Health Care Act (RHCA) allows abortion for any reason before fetal viability and stipulates that the state may not restrict abortion after that point “when necessary to preserve the health or life of that individual.” Like the Reproductive Health Act in New York and the recently defeated abortion expansion in Virginia, the bill carefully avoids defining “health.” This language is an unenforceable limitation and essentially amounts to a legalization of abortion up to the point of birth for any reason.

The bill is already cosponsored by more than half the members of the Rhode Island house. Democratic governor Gina Raimondo, a self-professed moderate, has vowed to sign it, writing of the bill, “I believe that no one should get in the middle of a decision between a woman and her doctor and that no woman should have to [choose] between health care and making ends meet.”

The bill’s supporters say it would merely codify Roe v. Wade, spin included in the bill text. Too few voters realize that the Supreme Court’s precedents effectively create a right to late-term abortion. But as expansive as the Court’s rulings have been, the bill goes further. The Court has allowed states to ban partial-birth abortion and to declare that life begins at conception; the bill removes both of these provisions from state law. The Court allows states to refrain from subsidizing abortion, too, but the bill can be read to require state funding for elective abortions.

A second bill, the Reproductive Privacy Act (RPA), is being promoted as a more limited abortion law. But it too protects abortion at all stages of pregnancy, allows partial-birth abortion, prevents meaningful regulation of abortion facilities, and arguably requires taxpayer funding of abortion.

new Cygnal poll of likely voters in Rhode Island found that key provisions of these bills are highly unpopular with residents. Only 22 percent of respondents favor making abortion legal up until birth, while 69 percent oppose partial-birth abortions in all circumstances and 64 percent oppose all second-trimester abortion.

With similar bills pending in several states across the country — including Vermont, New Mexico, and Illinois — Democrats continue to reveal how radical their party has become on abortion. In Rhode Island, there is still time to stop them from putting their extreme and inhumane ideology into law.

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