The League of Women Voters never supports or opposes candidates, but does take positions on issues we have studied on which we have reached consensus. Each year LWVRI reviews bills proposed in the RI legislature, and supports or opposes them based on positions arrived at after study and consensus.
The Issue: Women’s Health and Reproductive Rights
The Issue: The League of Women Voters of Rhode Island (LWVRI) is considering important health care related issues in the current legislative session. These include advocating for reproductive rights, and opposing efforts to prevent access to abortion, guaranteed under the Constitution by Roe v Wade, and perennially introduced bills such as “fetal protection,” and recognizing a fetus as “a human life upon conception.”
The League Position: The League is committed to Reproductive Health Rights for Women. The League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) believes that public policy in a pluralistic society must affirm the constitutional right of privacy of the individual to make reproductive choices. Position of Reproductive Choices (January 1983). This position is the basis of our support of the Reproductive Health Care Act of 2017, which would prohibit the state from interfering with a woman’s decision to either carry to term or terminate her pregnancy. The LWVUS believes that a basic level of quality health care at an affordable cost should be available to all U.S. residents. Other U.S. health care policy goals should include the equitable distribution of services, efficient and economical delivery of care, advancement of medical research and technology, and a reasonable total national expenditure level for health care. (Go to to read the full positions.)
Action: The LWVRI is working with the RI Coalition for Reproductive Freedom (RICRF) to address issues concerning women’s reproductive health. The following bills have been introduced so far this year. To track bills that have been introduced, go to the RI State website. Legislation Rhode Island/General Assembly/2018 Legislative Session/Bill Status/History, and insert the bill number. You can also find listed the Bill Text. Click on Daily Introductions to find out what is being introduced.
Legislators are most liable to listen to their own constituents. If your legislators are on the committees considering the proposed legislation, or if they are sponsors of the bills, it would be especially helpful if you would contact them. Identify yourself as their constituent and a League member to support the League positions on these bills.
House Bills the League Supports:
H-7077 - Provides that no pregnant applicant for insurance coverage be denied coverage due to her pregnancy. By: Ajello, Kazarian, Ranglin-Vassell, Donovan. 1/10 House Judiciary Committee
H-7095 - Taxation: Exempts from the sales tax products used for feminine hygiene in connection with the menstrual cycle. By Ajello, Tanzi, Hearn, Fogarty, Ruggerio.
1/10 House Finance Committee
H-7169 - Labor and Labor Relations - Grants unpaid pregnancy leave to part time workers; would clarify their access to unpaid sick leave during their pregnancy, and provides additional protections for pregnant workers who work in the medical field. By: Perez, McKiernan, Hull, Almeida, Lombardi. 1/12 House Labor Committee
H - 7182. Act relating to State Affairs and Government - The healthy pregnancies for incarcerated women act. Prohibits the use of restraints on pregnant prisoners in their 3rd trimester during transport to and from court proceedings by sheriffs, and/or incarceration at the ACI with annual reports to the General Assembly. By Ajello, Shanley, Walsh, McEntee, Craven.
1/17 House Judiciary Committee
H-7193 - Provides that any person including, but not limited to, a minor who is pregnant, could give effective consent for medical, dental, health and hospital services relating to prenatal, delivery, and post-natal care. By: McNamara, Ajello, Donovan, Ruggerio, Vella-Wilkinson.
1/18 House Health, Education and Welfare Committee
H-7340 - The Reproductive Health Care Act. Prohibits the state from restricting persons from terminating pregnancy prior to fetal viability. Would repeal the State’s unconstitutional laws regulating abortion. By Ajello, Walsh, Casimiro, Donovan, Ranglin-Vassell.
1/31 House Judiciary Committee
H-7363 - Prohibits insurance companies from varying the premium rates charged for a health coverage plan based on the gender of the subscriber. (Gender Rating). By Kazarian, Carson, Ajello, Ruggerio, Tanzi. 1/31 House Corporations Committee
H-7625 - Relating to insurance - Requires individual/group health contracts (effective 1/1/19) to provide insured/spouse/dependents 12 month contraceptive coverage/voluntary sterilization/patient education/counselling/follow-up services and Medicaid recipient coverage for a 12 month supply. By: Kazarian, Tanzi, Fogarty, Hearn, Ajello. 2/14 - House Finance Committee
H-7736 - Relating to Health and Safety. Would provide that any person, including, but not limited to, a minor who is pregnant, could give effective consent for medical, dental, health and hospital serveices relating to prenatal, delivery, and post-delivery care. By Vell-Wilkinson, Maldonado, Messier, Bennett, and Walsh. 2/28 House Judiciary Committee
House Bills the League Opposes:
H-7026 - The RI Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act. Defines and prohibits certain such acts with certain exceptions. Does not recognize any right to abortion. By Corvese, Assinaro, Ucci, O’Brien.
1/3 House Judiciary Committee
H-7113 - Would criminalize the knowing and intentional failure of a physician, nurse, or other licensed medical person to provide reasonable medical care and treatment to an infant born alive as a felony and manslaughter if the infant dies. By Perez, Vella-Wilkinson, Ucci, Diaz.
1/11 House Judiciary Committee
H-7164 - Born Alive Infant Protection Act. Would provide for the duties and obligations of medical personnel in certain circumstances. By: Perez, Chippendale, Diaz, Almeida, Lombardi. 1/11 House Judiciary Committee
H-7180 - Resolution recognizing the fetus as a human life on the existence of a heartbeat.
By: McLaughlin, Nardolillo, Fellela, Perez. 1/17 House Judiciary Committee
H-7735 - Relating to Criminal Offenses - Children. Would make the practice of aiding a minor in the process of getting an abortion a civil and criminal offense. By Vella-Wilkinson, Corvese, Maldonado, Messier, and Fellela. 2/28 House Judiciary Committee
Senate Bills the League Supports:
S-2163 - The Reproductive Health Care Act. Prohibits the State from restricting persons from terminating pregnancy prior to fetal viability. Would repeal laws regulating abortion. By: Golden, Sosnowski, Miller, Calken, Nesselbush. 1/24 Senate Judiciary Committee
S- 2268 - The Healthy Pregnancies for Incarcerated Women Act. Prohibits the use of restraints on pregnant prisoner during transport to and from court proceedings by sheriffs and/or incarceration at the ACI with annual reports to the General Assembly. By: Lynch Part, Metts, Gee, Quezada, Nesselbush. 2/1 Senate Judiciary Committee.
S-2399 - relating to insurance - Prohibits insurance companies from varying the premium rate charged for a health coverage plan based on the gender of the individual policy holder, enrollee, subscriber or member (known as “gender rating.” By: Sosnowski, Calkin, Golden, Coyne. 2/15 Senate Health and Human Services Committee
S-2400 - Relating to insurance - Establishes a special enrollment period for pregnant women to obtain health coverage at any time after the commencement of the pregnancy. By: Golden, Calkin, Miller, Sosnowski, Crowley. 2/15 Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
Senate Bills the League Opposes:
S-2173 - Act relating to Businesses and Professions - Board of Medical Licensures and Discipline. Makes it unprofessional conduct for a physician not to take all reasonable steps to insure that a viable fetus being carried by their patient be brought to term. By: Ciccone, Lombardi. 1/23 Senate Judiciary Committee
S-2142 - Criminalizes the knowing and intentional failure of a physician, nurse, or other licensed medial person to provide reasonable medical careened treatment to an infant born alive a felony and manslaughter if the infant dies. By Ciccone, Lombardi. 1/23 Senate Judiciary Committee
S-2152 - The Born Alive Infant Protection Act. Provides certain duties and obligations of medical personnel in certain circumstances. By Ciccone, Lombardi. 1/23 Senate Judiciary Committee
S-2535 - Health and Safety - Would define and would regulate, and in some cases, would prohibit dismemberment abortions. By DiPalma, Goodwin, McCaffrey, Metts, and Crowley. 3/1 Senate Judiciary Committee