If it’s true, as Nancy Pelosi said recently when she was here in Rhode Island, that the recent dust-up over reproductive freedom for women is an election year tactic, it might just prove to be a successful one in Rhode Island.
While we may like to fancy ourselves a left-leaning state, such is not the case when it comes to abortion rights.
The Guttmacher Institute, a public policy group that specializes in reproductive health, has listed Rhode Island as being the only northeastern state listed as being “hostile to abortion.” And it’s been listed that way since at least 2000. Check out these three maps to see how the country has become more hostile to abortion rights since 2000.
It’s not surprising that Rhode Island would be listed as hostile as only a third of overwhelmingly Democratic House of Representatives are on record as being pro-choice, according to Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. The Senate is even more hostile to reproductive rights, with only seven of 38 members identifying themselves as being pro-choice or 18 percent – and one of the them is Republican Dawson Hodgson of North Kingstown.
Given this, it’s no wonder Rep. Karen MacBeth’s bill that would require Rhode Island abortion doctors to perform an ultrasound and to ask the woman if she would like to see the picture might gain traction – even though it carries very high fines for doctors who don’t comply: $100,000 fine for a first offense and up to $250,00o for a second offense.
A Republican legislator who is pro-choice but doesn’t go on record for political purposes recently told me that abortion issues are losers for social liberals. Abortion politics, they said, energize only the anti-choice side of the debate.
To that end, it is no surprise that FOX News told MacBeth, she said, they are ready to report on Rhode Island if and when her bill comes up for a vote. Seeing how well economic issues are going for conservatives, they may as well try to move the debate over to social issues.