House committee hears hour of clashing opinions on new abortion proposal

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Dozens of Rhode Islanders on both sides of the aisle were given the chance to testify on a new bill Thursday evening. The legislation would expand abortion insurance coverage for those on Medicaid and employees of the state. 

“For people on Medicaid and health state insurance plans, they’re not covered in the same way,” said state representative and bill sponsor, Liana Cassar. “So, what happens is, especially if there is someone with a complicated pregnancy who needs to take this step, their coverage is so that they have to wait and find financing, and then it becomes a more difficult and complicated situation.” 

There are currently 207,000 residents over the age of 18 on Medicaid who would be available for this abortion coverage. 

In front of the House Finance Committee, Rhode Islanders voiced their stances for the bill and increased abortion rights. 

“Why should woman who are state employees be forced to be less than women who are not?” said one supporter. 

“Federal, state, and local government should be passing laws that protect the common good, and that includes people who have a moral objection to funding other peoples’ abortions,” said an opponent. 

The polarizing bill received over 300 written testimonies before the hearing began. 

“I think we need to understand that it’s up to an individual to make that decision for themselves with the guidance of their healthcare provider. It needs to be safe, and available, and affordable,” concluded Cassar. 

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