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What will a US Supreme Court ruling on abortion mean for Rhode Island?

What will a US Supreme Court ruling on abortion mean for Rhode Island?

PROVIDENCE After two hours of heated discussions, the six conservative justices on the US Supreme Court approved a Mississippi law that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a move that would undermine Roe v. Wade, the historic case that established a precedent on abortion rights 50 years ago. Their decision isn't expected until sometime next year.

However, lawmakers in Rhode Island passed the legislation in 2019 which protects the legal right to an abortion in Rhode Island, even if Roe v. Wade is weakened or overturned.

Here are the state-owned protections Rhode Islanders have and do not haveconfirmed.

Will Rhode Islanders have abortion rights if the Supreme Court promulgates Mississippi's 15-week statute?

When the Rhode Island General Assembly adopted the legislation, it deduced abortion access to the state's constitution. Former governor Gina M. Raimondo the night it passed the Senate in June 2019.

This bill that I'm about to sign codifies Roe v. Wade, preserves the status quo here in this state for 50 years, as well as the fact that it's a very important bill, Raimondo said at the time. In Washington and, frankly, throughout the country and many other states, there's a lot of worry about women's right to health care, he added. This bill that I'm about to sign codifies Roe v. Wade, which preserve

Do you require parental consent or alert in Rhode Island for children under the age of 18?

Minors require parental consent for abortion in Rhode Island, however they may challenge a court bypass.

Which health care professionals can perform abortions in Rhode Island?

The doctor-only requirement for surgical or in-clinic abortion is required.

Physician requirements create additional, unnecessary barriers to abortion access, said Gretchen Raffa, a senior director of public policy, advocacy, and organizing at, which focuses on sexual health care and reproductive rights.

Is counseling required before getting an abortion in Rhode Island? Are you required for medical treatment in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island does not require counseling.

Is abortions subject to the state's Medicaid program?

The Hyde Amendment, which was struck in 1977, prohibits federal funding for abortions other than in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest.

The EACA would eliminate what advocates call Rhode Island abortion prohibitions by allowing abortion to be covered by the state's Medicaid program, which is used by over 315,000 people, according to Raffa.

Yes, Rhode Island's legal right to abortion is protected, but the right is unaffected to anyone who can't afford to obtain the abortion care they need, said Raffa.

a Barrington Democrat and a East Greenwich Democrat introduced the EACA to the General Assembly last session when he was first introduced to the last session.

How could the EACA expand abortion coverage?

"There are abortion restrictions for specific individuals," Valverde told the Globe in a phone interview on Thursday, as she and Cassar prepared to return to Rhode Island from Washington D.C., where they had attended a rally to safeguard abortion rights. For those under Medicaid, and it's written into the state statue that the health insurance plans for state employees are prohibited from covering abortion and our families."

Others state regulations prohibit nearly one in three Rhode Islanders (people enrolled in Medicaid and more than 17,000 state employees and their dependents) from using their health insurance to cover abortion costs, according to Cassar and Valverde.

Many lower-socioeconomic households in Rhode Island don't have the financial flexibility. Trying to pay the typical cost [of an abortion] may be catastrophic for them.... it may cause them to miss rent that month or not be able to pay utilities or food, said Cassar. It could completely destabilize households.

Do other states require Medicaid arrangements to cover abortion?

According to Sarah Gordon-Brilla, a spokeswoman for the Rhode Island-specific program, we have Medicaid policy that covers abortion.

We cant be complacency while abortion access hangs by a thread, Raffa said. 2021 is the worst year on record for reproductive rights since the decision in Roe v. Wade nearly 50 years ago.

Why didn't the EACA pass and become law?

The bill included 26 co-sponsors in the House and 21 co-sponsors in the Senate, but never left its designated committees.

Valverde said she opposed Senate President Dominick Ruggerio's decision to send the bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee rather than the Senate Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee, which she is vice chairwoman. It continued to the Judiciary Committee, where many advocates say have numerous anti-choice legislators, and was never brought to a full House vote.

We completed the RPA in 2019, which guaranteed the right to an abortion in Rhode Island, but we really didn't finish the job, Valverde added.

Valverde and Cassar stated that they would reintroduce the bill in the 2022 legislative session.

What other than the EACA, what will abortion rights advocates seek for in Rhode Island this year?

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England is going into this year's session hoping to get a number of bills passed that were not approved last session, including access to affordable contraception, ensuring health insurance coverage is guaranteed renewability regardless of a preexisting condition, mandating improved sex education curriculum on consent and safe relationships in Rhode Island's schools, granting Medicaid coverage for all income-qualified children regardless of immigration status, and extending Medicaid's postpartum coverage.

Alexa Gagosz can be reached at. twitter.

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