R.I. House Judiciary Committee narrowly passes radical abortion bill

By Dave Andrusko

R.I. Rep. Arthur Corvese

Following 9-7 passage in the House Judiciary Committee, the full Rhode Island House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Thursday or Friday on a radical abortion bill very much like that passed in New York and turned back in Virginia.

The vote was especially bitter in that House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello allowed the vote to go ahead Tuesday. Barth Bracy, executive director of Rhode Island, tweeted, “It would be a very sad and despicable legacy for a self-professed pro-life Speaker to be responsible for creating the first-ever statutory right to abortion in Rhode Island state history, particularly one so broad and so extreme.”

In addition one of the nine votes in favor came from the House Majority Whip previously endorsed by Rhode Island Right to Life.

Proponents picked up on the current pro-abortion talking point—that their legislation merely “codify” Roe v. Wade—adding the twist that S152 was a “strict codification.”

“This is the opposite of a strict codification,” said Rep. Arthur Corvese during yesterday’s debate. “Republican Rep. Blake Filippi, the House Minority Leader, said repeal would leave Rhode Island without a way to prosecute a ‘crazy boyfriend.’ who stomps the stomach of his pregnant girlfriend to deliberately kill the fetus she is carrying,” according to reporter Katherine Gregg of the Providence-Journal.

R.I. Rep. Blake Filippi

“We are taking away the crime against the fetus. We are denying legal status to a fetus that could be eight and a half months old,” Filippi argued.

The Diocese of Providence further explained. “As in New York and Virginia, abortion proponents in Rhode Island are pushing extreme legislation that would strike down a wide range of state restrictions on abortion, including our longstanding post-viability abortion ban, thus allowing abortion up to the moment of birth. Their proposed ‘non-interference’ statutory framework would prevent meaningful state regulation and protect 2nd and 3rd trimester abortion methods such as partial birth abortions, dismemberment abortions, and abortions performed on pain-capable unborn children.”

The Diocese concluded

The deplorable reality is that thousands of babies are presently being aborted each year in Rhode Island. It is an uncontested fact that even if Roe v Wade were overturned today, nothing whatsoever would automatically change with respect to the legality of abortion in Rhode Island, because what is not forbidden by law is allowed. 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.

Proponents, of course, were overjoyed. Rep. Anastasia Williams issued a statement praising passage in the Judiciary Committee. “We are now closer to securing a woman’s right to privacy and choice in her medical decisions in Rhode Islander. We will continue to push forward for passage on the House floor on Thursday.”

But the Rev. Bernard Healey countered, “Today’s vote is a low point in the three-century history of the R.I. General Assembly.”

In a summary posted earlier this week, Rhode Island Right to Life summarized the facts about the substitute amendment which “is not just a ‘codification of Roe v. Wade,’ but a radical change in Rhode Island abortion law.” The bill

  • Allows for abortions up to birth, even for psychological or emotional reasons
  • Eliminates constitutional restrictions on method of abortion.
  • Repeals constitutional protections for a viable unborn child from criminal assaults on the mother.
  • Requires the State of Rhode Island to pay for abortions in certain cases.
  • Undermines Rhode Island’s ability to regulate abortions facilities by medically recognized standards
  • Waters down parent consent laws.