Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo signed the Reproductive Privacy Act (RPA) into law, a monumental moment for the protection of abortion rights in the state. The bill codifies the privacy rights that were established in Roe v. Wade, meaning that if Roe were to be overturned on the federal level, citizens of Rhode Island would still have their right to abortion protected. The passage of the bill comes six months after the bill was introduced at the beginning of this year by District 9 Representative Anastasia Williams.
The bill passed in the Senate 21-17 minutes before it was signed into law, and initially passed the House several months ago 44-30. The bill’s components includes the decriminalization of abortions, the extension of maternity care to those who would otherwise not be able to afford it, and the allowance for health insurance to cover abortions, though that provision does not extend to employees of the state.
The passage of this bill places Rhode Island alongside New York as one of the states who have recently codified the rights granted by Roe v. Wade. The RPA took effect immediately after its passage and will safeguard abortion rights in the state. The RPA’s passage is a change from the restrictive abortion laws that have been passed earlier this year throughout the country.
Media Resources: Providence Local (WJAR) 6/19/19; The Reproductive Privacy Act 6/19/19; Uprise RI 3/08/19; CNN 1/23/19