Dozens testify as RI lawmakers discuss abortion bills

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Opponents and supporters of abortion alike gathered at the State House Wednesday to voice their opinions to Rhode Island lawmakers.

The House Judiciary Committee is expected to hear four bills regarding abortion on Wednesday evening.

Pink signs supporting Planned Parenthood and pro-life posters shaped like stop signs filled the corridors of the State House.

Dozens are set to testify before the committee. Officials are allowing 20 to 30 people in at a time while the rest wait in an overflow room.

Both sides agreed that reaction to changes at the federal level provoked action on the topic.

According to a legislative summary, the proposed bills are:

  • H 5100 – “This bill would define, regulate, and in some cases prohibit dismemberment abortions. It is sponsored by Rep. Arthur J. Corvese (D-Dist. 55, North Providence).”
  • H 5158 – “This bill would prohibit an abortion solely as a means of sex selection. It is sponsored by Rep. Deborah A. Fellela (D-Dist. 43, Johnston).”
  • H 5343 – “This bill would prohibit the state from interfering with a woman’s decision to prevent, commence, continue or terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability. It is sponsored by Rep. Edith H. Ajello (D-Dist. 1, Providence).”
  • H 5830 – “This bill would repeal the requirement of notice to a husband of a patient before an abortion procedure. It is sponsored by Rep. Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston).”

Craig O’Connor from Planned Parenthood Southern New England pointed to bill H 5343 as the main source for support.

“Representative Edith Ajello has a bill that would take the main ideas of Roe v. Wade [and] put them into Rhode Island law,” O’Connor explained. “So most people are here to testify in support of that legislation.”

Rhode Island Right to Life’s Victor Bergeron commented on the same bill.

“We’ve had three legal opinions rendered for this particular bill,” he said. “And those opinions state pretty clearly that this would essentially put any abortion restrictions even beyond the Department of Health.”