Rhode Island Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo on Wednesday joined other Democratic governors in signing bills guaranteeing abortion protections, at a time when more and more Republicans seem intent on rolling back such freedoms.
The governor said that the bill “codifies what has been the status quo under Roe v. Wade for nearly five decades,” referring to the landmark Supreme Court decision that gave women the right to abortion in 1973. “It protects a woman’s access to reproductive health care here in Rhode Island at a time when that access is under threat at the federal level and in states across our country,” Raimondo added.
The bill, known as the Reproductive Privacy Act, prohibits restrictions by the state on individuals who wish to prevent, commence, continue or terminate “that individual’s pregnancy prior to fetal viability” or after it “to preserve the health or life” of the woman, CNN reports.
The bill bans the state from imposing restrictions on contraceptives and protects medical professionals performing abortions from facing felony assault charges. Under the Reproductive Privacy Act, husbands of married women will no longer have to be notified if their wife seeks to terminate her pregnancy before the procedure is performed.
The bill was immediately applauded by Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island, whose CEO Amanda Skinner said “the essential protections instilled by the RPA will ensure all Rhode Islanders — and especially people of color, people with low incomes, members of the LBGTQ+ community, and anyone who struggles with barriers to health care — can access the reproductive health care services they need.”
She stressed that abortions are health care and that is a basic human right.
The Rhode Island Right to Life Committee, which opposes the bill, said it would retract some endorsements due to what it calls were “the treacheries and failures… by unscrupulous and smarmy politicians, failures by dishonest media outlets, and failures in our own pro-life movement and churches.”