The General Assembly considered no fewer than seven measures this session aimed at restricting reproductive freedom, but lawmakers also considered a number of positive measures to update and clarify Rhode Island law by eliminating long-unconstitutional measures that remain on the books. In March, the ACLU of RI testified before the House Judiciary committee in favor of legislation to formally repeal a long-invalid law requiring a physician to notify a woman’s husband in order to terminate a pregnancy. The law was declared unconstitutional in Rhode Island following a court challenge by the ACLU in 1984, but still appears in the General Laws to this day. The ACLU testified that keeping such an unconstitutional provision enshrined in state law was at best misleading, leaving many to believe that spousal consent is required for an abortion – a dangerous requirement for any woman whose relationship involves domestic violence. Unfortunately, the bill was never voted on in committee.
Spousal Notification for Abortion (H 7223)
Representative Patrick O’Neill