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Rhode Island

Restrictions on Low-Income Women's Access to Abortion

Rhode Island prohibits public funding of abortion for women eligible for state medical assistance for general health care unless the procedure is necessary to preserve the woman's life or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.  R.I. Dep't of Human Servs. Code of Rules, Medical Assistance, §0300.01 C(D)(1)(a) (Rev. June 2014), at http://www.eohhs.ri.gov/Portals/0/Uploads/Documents/0300final72014.pdf; Rhode Island Dept. of Health & Human Services, Service Requiring Adherence to Federal Guidelines, at http://www.eohhs.ri.gov/ProvidersPartners/ProviderManualsGuidelines/MedicaidProviderManual/Physician/ServiceRequiringAdherenceToFederalGuidelines.aspx.

Rhode Island's constitution has an invalid and unenforceable provision banning the use of public funds for abortion.  R.I. Const. art. I, § 2 (Enacted 1986).  This provision is in conflict with federal law.  Participating state medical assistance programs must meet the federal requirements for abortion coverage.  Federal law currently requires states participating in the Medicaid program to fund abortion in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest.


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