House committee hears hours of testimony for, against abortion bill

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Dozens of Rhode Islanders gave testimony Monday during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act.

The bill would expand elective abortion coverage to state employees and those on Medicaid. Abortions are already covered by the state in the case of rape, incest, and danger to the mother.

House Majority Whip Katherine Kazarian sponsors the bill that was first introduced in February of 2022.

“By not passing this legislation, we are saying people in Rhode Island have a right to reproductive care and privacy only if they can afford to pay for it,” said Kazarian in front of the committee Monday. “This bill fixes an entrenched, classist belief that low-income women do not deserve the same access or dignity as high-income women.”

Other taxpayers said it is unfair to make citizens pay for the elective procedures.

“Medicaid should not be used for elected abortions because they are not medically necessary and go against most Rhode Islanders conscious rights,” said one taxpayer in front of the committee.

Another asked, “Where is the moral outrage over this proposal, which is basically authorizing the state to pay for hitmen to kill babies in their mother’s womb.”

However, many like Dr. Ben Brown, obstetrician gynecologist and teaching assistant at Brown University, said this policy is well past due.

“People in our state will no longer have to choose between providing basic necessities for their families and accessing the healthcare they need,” he said.

The House Judiciary Committee did not take a vote Monday, and the bill is being held for further research.

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