McKee signs Equality in Abortion Coverage Act after passing Senate

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Gov. Dan McKee signed a bill that provides taxpayer funded abortion coverage for state employees and those on Medicaid after it passed in the Senate.

The bill eliminates the policy that withholds health coverage for abortion in the state Medicaid program and halts the denial of coverage for abortion in the health plan used by state employees.

Before, abortions were covered for those groups only in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.

The bill was passed 24-12 in the Senate after heated debate, and the House passed this version 44-18.

McKee signed the bill in a ceremony on Thursday.

“Here in Rhode Island, we will always protect a woman’s right to choose and ensure equal access to these crucial health care services,” McKee said. “I am proud to sign this bill into law and I was proud to include related funding in my budget proposal this year.”

The bill passed the House 49-24 earlier in the year, and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 7-6 this week.

Rep. Katherine Kazarian, who sponsors the bill, said the funding is included in the McKee administration’s budget.

“With passage of the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act today, we will complete that work, providing genuine equality and access for everyone in Rhode Island who needs reproductive health services,” Kazarian said. “While the federal protections that stood for a half-century have been eradicated and reproductive rights remain under attack around the country, Rhode Island is moving forward in ensuring reproductive freedom for all, and I am deeply grateful to our colleagues and the many supporters who have worked tirelessly to get us here.”

Those who supported the bill argue that abortion is healthcare, while those against it said they don’t want their money going towards something they do not support.

Categories: News, Rhode Island