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Rhode Island Proposes Act that Repeals Restrictions on Partial-Birth Abortions

  • Kayla Koslosky

    Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket …

  • 2019 Feb 04

Rhode Island seems to be following in New York’s footsteps as legislators propose the "Reproductive Health Care Act" which will legalize abortion up until the moment of birth.

According to WPRI News, Representatives Edith Ajello and Sen. Gayle Goldin first introduced the “Reproductive Health Care Act” in 2017, and last month, they brought it up again. Currently, abortion is illegal in Rhode Island except for when the mother’s life is at risk. The act will not only repeal language that outlaws abortion but it will also eliminate state restrictions on women seeking abortions after the fetus is deemed viable if the mothers “health or life” is at risk.

The act says that “the state, nor any of its agencies, or political subdivisions shall… restrict an individual person from terminating that individual's pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to preserve the health or life of that individual…"

This would mean that if a woman’s health or life is at risk, she could abort her baby after a doctor has already determined that it could survive outside of the womb.

The bill also eliminates terminology which deems that an unborn child is a person and that life begins at conception. The section that reads: “It shall be conclusively presumed in any action concerning the construction, application or validity of section 11-3-1, that human life commences at the instant of conception and that said human life at said instant of conception is a person within the language and meaning of the fourteenth amendment of the constitution of the United States,” will be repealed from the state’s current regulations on reproductive health further reducing the rights of the unborn.

Finally, the act repeals restrictions on partial-birth abortions. 

A partial-birth abortion as defined in Rhode Island’s legislation is “an abortion in which the person performing the abortion vaginally delivers a living human fetus before killing the infant and completing the delivery.”

Currently, partial-birth abortions are outlawed in Rhode Island, again, except for when the life of the mother is at risk. The current legislation clearly reads, “No person shall knowingly perform a partial birth abortion.” The “Reproductive Health Care Act” states, however, that the section titled "'Partial Birth Abortion' is hereby repealed in its entirety," meaning no such restriction will exist. It is not clear what parameters will permit a partial-birth abortion.

As of now, the act has not been passed, but according to a press release from the Rhode Island General assembly, Rhode Islanders overwhelmingly support more lenient restrictions on abortion, as many residents believe that by making abortions legal “in all/most cases” it will keep the procedure safe.

Photo courtesy: Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash