Rhode Island gubernatorial candidates react to Roe v. Wade decision
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The Rhode Island gubernatorial candidates responded to the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade by the US Supreme Court Friday.
All Democratic candidates slammed the decision with all saying they support the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act (EACA) that would allow Medicaid to fund abortions in the state.
Incumbent Gov. Dan McKee called the decision a travesty.
“Make no mistake about it: today’s Supreme Court decision will not stop abortions. It will only make them less safe. It’s time for Congress to act and support a woman’s right to choose, just like Rhode Island has done,” said McKee.
A spokesperson later added McKee is in support of the EACA and would sign it if it reaches his desk.
Within hours, Democratic candidate Helena Buonanno Foulkes circulated an ad on social media saying she will “fight to eliminate the ban on abortion coverage by insurers” and “make sure the Reproductive Privacy Act is fully enforced.”
Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, who is also seeking the Democratic nod, said she is “appalled” by the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“As Governor I will do everything in my power to ensure that Rhode Islanders will continue to have equitable access to safe and legal abortions. Passing the Rhode Island Equity in Abortion Coverage ACT will be a priority for me as Governor but I would welcome a special session of the General Assembly to pass this law prior to January 2023,” said Gorbea.
Matt Brown took the most aggressive stance, calling on Gov. Dan McKee not to sign the budget that passed Thursday night until the EACA is added to the budget.
“We need an immediate special legislative session and Governor McKee should refuse to sign the budget until the EACA has been passed and added to the budget,” remarked Brown.
He also called on McKee to sign an executive order to that of what Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed Friday.
The lone Republican to announce thus far Ashley Kalus released a statement emphasizing that nothing has changed in Rhode Island following Friday’s Supreme Court decision.
“Abortion was codified into state law in 2019, and that will not change. Period,” said Kalus. “It is shameful that we are already seeing politicians use scare tactics to instill fear as a way to gain votes.”
Kalus noted her priorities remain fighting inflation, growing the economy and reforming the education system.
The filing period for candidates starts Monday with the primary elections taking place Sept. 13.