Title 23
Health and Safety

Chapter 4.13
Reproductive Privacy Act

R.I. Gen. Laws 23-4.13-2



 23-4.13-2.  Noninterference in reproductive health care.


(a) Neither the state, nor any of its agencies, or political subdivisions shall:

(1) Restrict an individual person from preventing, commencing, continuing, or terminating that individual's pregnancy prior to fetal viability;

(2) Interfere with an individual person's decision to continue that individual's pregnancy after fetal viability;

(3) Restrict an individual person from terminating that individual's pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to preserve the health or life of that individual;

(4) Restrict the use of evidence-based, medically recognized methods of contraception or abortion except in accordance with evidence-based medically appropriate standards that are in compliance with state and federal statutes enumerated in subsections (c)(1) and (c)(2), department of health regulations and standards referenced in subsection (c)(3), and subsection (d); or

(5) Restrict access to evidence-based, medically recognized methods of contraception or abortion or the provision of such contraception or abortion except in accordance with evidence-based medically appropriate standards that are in compliance with state and federal statutes enumerated in subsections (c)(1) and (c)(2), department of health regulations and standards referenced in subsection (c)(3), and subsection (d).

(b) For purposes of this section, "fetal viability" means that stage of gestation where the attending physician, taking into account the particular facts of the case, has determined that there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus' sustained survival outside of the womb with or without artificial support.

(c) Notwithstanding the foregoing, this section shall not be construed to:

(1) Abrogate the provisions of 11-9-18 titled "Care of babies born alive during attempted abortions," 11-54-1 titled "Experimentation on human fetuses," 23-4.6-1 titled "Consent to medical and surgical care," 23-4.7-1 through 23-4.7-8 titled "Informed consent for abortion," 23-13-21 titled "Comprehensive reproductive health services," 23-17-11 titled "Abortion and sterilization — Protection for nonparticipation — Procedure," or 42-157-3(d) of the section titled "Rhode Island Health Benefit Exchange — General requirements";

(2) Abrogate the provisions of 18 U.S.C. 1531, titled "Partial-birth abortions prohibited" and cited as the "Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003";

(3) Prevent the department of health from applying to licensed healthcare facilities that provide abortion any generally applicable regulations or standards that are in accordance with evidence-based, medically recognized standards for the provision of abortion in compliance with state and federal statutes enumerated in subsections (c)(1) and (c)(2) and with subsection (d), provided that such application, adoption or enforcement is not a pretext for violating subsection (a) of this section.

(d) The termination of an individual's pregnancy after fetal viability is expressly prohibited except when necessary, in the medical judgment of the physician, to preserve the life or health of that individual.

(1) Any physician who knowingly violates the provisions of this subsection shall be deemed to have engaged in "unprofessional conduct" for the purpose of 5-37-5.1.

(2) A physician who performs a termination after fetal viability shall be required to record in the patient's medical records the basis for the physician's medical judgment that termination was necessary to preserve the life or health of the patient and must comply with all other relevant requirements applicable to physicians in 23-3-17.

(3) The director of the department of health is authorized to deny or revoke any license to practice allopathic or osteopathic medicine or otherwise discipline a licensee upon finding by the board that the person is guilty of unprofessional conduct under 5-37-5.1(31).

History of Section.
P.L. 2019, ch. 27, 1.