RI state leadership say they will continue discussions on Medicaid funded abortions next session

Rhode Island State House. File. (WLNE-TV)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Following the announcement that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, the state’s House and Senate leaders said they will consider a bill to have Medicaid fund abortions in the state next session.

Sen. President Dominick Ruggerio, Sen. Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey and House Speaker Joe Shekarchi said they will consider the measure to have taxpayers fund abortions.

“I am disheartened by the extreme decision by the US Supreme Court today,” said Shekarchi. “Fortunately because the General Assembly passed the Reproductive Privacy Act in 2019 when I was the House Majority Leader, Roe v. Wade was codified into state statute so the women of Rhode Island continue to be able to make the personal decision to access safe and legal abortion,” the Speaker added.

“The Senate acted in 2019 to codify Roe vs. Wade into state law; as a result, no Rhode Islander is losing rights today,” McCaffrey and Ruggerio noted in a joint statement.

The top state Senators said when it comes to Medicaid funding abortions in the state, that should be part of the budget.

“The EACA has financial implications and should be considered as part of the budget, but was not included in the proposal presented to the Legislature in January, or in the budget the House sent to the Senate last week. We plan to address this issue in the 2023 session,” the Senators said.

Shekarchi echoed that the discussions will continue next session.

“We will continue the discussion in our next legislative session on a bill that would provide Medicaid funding for the procedure,” he said.

A spokesperson for Gov. Dan McKee said is supports the measure and would sign it if it comes to his desk.

“He encourages the General Assembly to pass the bill and send it to his desk for signature next session. The vote threshold for a legislative vote is much lower than a budgetary vote—this gives the Act its best fighting chance to pass,” reads a portion of the statement.

Categories: News, Rhode Island