The Rhode Island House passed a pro-abortion bill Thursday to repeal its ban on taxpayer-funded abortions, despite bipartisan opposition.

Sponsored by state Majority Whip Katherine Kazarian, House Bill 5006 would add Rhode Island to the 16 states that force taxpayers to pay for killing unborn babies in elective abortions. It passed in a 49-24 vote and now heads to the state Senate for consideration.

Like most states, Rhode Island law bans state tax dollars from paying for abortions, with exceptions for rape, incest and risks to the mother’s life. Polls consistently show Americans do not want their tax dollars to be spent on killing unborn babies in abortions.

Kazarian’s bill would repeal the ban and allow state tax dollars to pay for elective abortions through Medicaid and state health insurance plans.

“Unless an individual is able to pay the costs out of pocket or is on private insurance, these essential health care services are still out of reach for too many Rhode Islanders,” she said in a statement.

But the bill met with widespread opposition from Republican and Democrat, pro-life and pro-abortion lawmakers, and previous attempts to pass it have failed since 2020, according to the Brown Daily Herald.

“People are taxed out,” state Rep. Charlene M. Lima, D-Cranston, said on the House floor. “They’re tired.”

ACTION ALERT: Contact Rhode Island Senate lawmakers and urge them to oppose this pro-abortion legislation.

Lima, a Democrat who describes herself as pro-choice, said taxpayers should not be forced to pay for something that they believe is morally wrong, according to the report.

The state should not “mandate taxpayers who, for personal reasons or religious reasons, do not agree with abortion to have to pay for it,” she continued. “It is so easy to spend money when it’s not yours. If the 50-something people on this floor want to pay for abortion … use your money, not the taxpayer’s money.”

Another Democrat, state Rep. Arthur J. Corvese, D-North Providence, also opposed the bill, saying he believes killing unborn babies in abortions is an “abomination and unconscionable in a civilized society.”

Supporters argued that the purpose of the bill is to fund women’s health care, including state Rep. Karen Alzate, D-Pawtucket, according to the report.

“This is about women’s health care,” Alzate said.

Kazarian added that only a “very, very small amount” of tax dollars would be spent on abortions “and abortion is healthcare,” ABC 6 reports.

But Lima criticized these assertions, noting that the bill strikes out the word “woman” from the law and changes it to “person” instead.

“It’s not healthcare, it’s not women’s healthcare,” Lima said. “They actually took the word ‘woman’ out of the bill and replaced it with ‘person.’ How demeaning that is to women.”

Polls consistently show that a strong majority of Americans oppose taxpayer funded abortions. A January poll by Marist found 60 percent of Americans oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions in the U.S., and 78 percent oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions in other countries.

At the federal level, the Hyde and Helms Amendments prohibit federal taxpayer funding for elective abortions in Medicaid and overseas programs. However, states can force their residents to pay for abortions with state tax dollars and 16 currently do.

ACTION ALERT: Contact Rhode Island Senate lawmakers and urge them to oppose this pro-abortion legislation.

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