PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With the legislative session ending in a few weeks, two groups are making their voices heard at the State House as lawmakers continue to discuss a high-profile abortion bill.
The Senate Judiciary Committee ultimately decided to hold the House’s legislation for further study rather than defeat it, meaning lawmakers could come back to it later in the session.
While no abortion-related hearings took place at the State House Wednesday, tensions remain high on both sides of the debate.
Both the Rhode Island Right to Life and Planned Parenthood held dueling rallies in the State House rotunda in an effort to ensure their voices are heard loud and clear.
“I don’t really see this as a woman’s rights issue, it’s more of a life issue, you need to give everyone a chance to live,” Michael Benson of the Knights of Columbus said.
“Let’s talk about the heartbeat of a woman or the life of a woman, or a woman being in charge of her own destiny, and being alive to do what will make her happy,” President of the National Organization for Women Toni Van Pelt said.
As strict abortion laws pass in other states like Missouri, Louisiana and Alabama, pro-choice advocates continue urging lawmakers to take a different approach in Rhode Island.
“We’re just not going to allow this intimidation, this verbal abuse to stop us from doing what’s right and stand up for women and a woman’s right to self-autonomy,” Van Pelt said.
Pro-life advocates are asking lawmakers to prevent the legislation from moving forward.
“Somehow along the line, women have come to think that having the ability to get rid of a child gives them the right to succeed, I don’t see any evidence of that at all,” Benson said.
A Senate spokesperson said there are no updates on if or when another vote on the abortion bill will be held. He said negotiations regarding the legislation are continuing behind the scenes.