Around New England

Rhode Island’s All-Nine-Months Abortion Bill A Close Call in State Senate Judiciary Committee

March 12, 2019

The Rhode Island Senate’s Judiciary Committee appears to be divided 5-4 in favor of a bill that would effectively make abortion legal throughout pregnancy, although anti-abortion leaders in the Senate could join the committee vote and tilt it the other way, according to The Providence Journal.

The Rhode Island House of Representatives passed the bill Thursday, March 7.

Supporters say they are trying to codify Roe v. Wade in state law in case the U.S. Supreme Court overturns it. Opponents say the bill goes even further than Roe, which many also find unacceptable.

Rhode Island House Bill 5125, called the “Reproductive Privacy Act,” theoretically outlaws late-term abortions after what it calls “fetal viability,” meaning the point where a fetus has a reasonable likelihood of surviving outside the womb, but it provides an exception “to preserve the life or health” of the mother, a loophole that is widely interpreted to include the mental health of the mother, which can be used to justify an abortion up until birth without a measurable standard.

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