Sponsors and proponents of the two abortion bills (5125 & 5127) pending at the Rhode Island State House have largely refused to acknowledge that the bills would open the door to third trimester abortions in Rhode Island. On the few occasions that supporters do allow as the bills might permit third trimester abortions, they do not do so openly but talk around it and emphasize how rare the procedure is nationally and would be if such a law were passed. (As though “rarely” killing a third trimester fetus, aka, a baby, is somehow acceptable.) Instead, they say that they are merely looking to codify Roe v Wade.
Conversely, observers, even pro-choice people like myself, see the significant change to Rhode Island law proposed by both bills. It would legalize abortion at any point in the pregnancy for the vague and conveniently all-encompassing reason of the mother’s “health”.
Andrew Morse’s discovery of legal reasoning about “health” from a SCOTUS ruling contemporaneous with Roe v Wade only heightens concerns about the enormous new loophole for third trimester abortions proposed by 5125 and 5127.
Governor Gina Raimondo is a proponent of these bills. Inasmuch as she has stuck Rain Man-like to a narrow set of talking points no matter what question is posed to her about the subject (which, come to think of it, is her usual rigid style, especially when it comes to dubious new policy), it is not clear that she is an altogether effective proponent. However, in her defense of these bills, she not only says that they would simply codify Roe v Wade but goes on to explicitly say that these bills would not be an expansion of Rhode Island’s current abortion law.
Presumably, sponsors and proponents of 5125 and 5127 would agree with this characterization. Very well. Prove it. Add a sentence to the bills excluding third trimester abortions. In the spirit of compromise, feel free even to add the caveat “except when the mother’s life is at stake”.
But not the mother’s health. Because that’s what swings the door open wide.
So the ball is in your court. Prove you mean what you say – or are trying to strongly imply – about the implications of this bill. Exclude the third trimester. And simultaneously, prove your critics wrong. Very easy to do.
Most of us are sincerely hoping that you do.