Controversial abortion bill shot down in Senate committee vote
By News Staff and Brittany Comak
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The Senate Judiciary Committee shot down a controversial reproductive rights bill in a vote Tuesday evening.
The Reproductive Health Care Act, sponsored by Senator Gayle Goldin, D-Providence, would have codified the right to an abortion in Rhode Island state law.
In a vote Tuesday night, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5-4 against the bill. Democratic Senator Stephen Archambault proved to be the key vote against the bill after announcing Monday that he would not support the legislation as it was written.
"All along I've committed to codifying Roe V. Wade," Archambault said during the vote. "I am pro-choice and I do support a woman's right to choose. I do not favor or support, or endorse, late term abortions as defined by the sponsor's bill."
After the vote the state house erupted, with emotions running high.
"I feel really happy," said Ana Delgado, who is pro-life.
"Infuriated!" said Michelle Mcgaw, who is pro-choice.
Senators Lynch Prata, Coyne, Euer, and McKenney, voted in favor of the bill.
"Contrary to the rhetoric, women are not flippantly deciding to use abortion as birth control," said Democratic Senator Dawn Euer, before voting yes.
But it wasn't enough, and the bill will not advance.
Pro–life people celebrated the narrow vote in the hallways.
"It is not what is needed in Rhode Island, it's not what's needed in America, and that is exactly why this committee voted this bill down," said Catherine Glenn Foster, who is pro-life.
Supporters of the bill marched through the state house in protest.
"We're going to continue the fight," said supporter Liz Gledhill. "That's what women do."
In a statement, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio said, “It is clear that there is not sufficient support to pass the bill as it stands out of committee."
The committee voted 7-2 to hold the House version of the bill for further study, meaning it could be brought back up for a vote at a later date.
“By holding the House version of the bill for further study today,” said Ruggerio, “There is opportunity for further action.”
Sponsors of the bill expressed disappointment in the vote, and said in part: "We will continue to entertain any avenue to pursue protection for the women of our state. We have worked collaboratively to get to this point, and our work is not done."
Ruggerio recommended members of the Senate and House continue to work with one another and see “if amended language can be developed that will pass committee and be brought to the floor.”
©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2019