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Rhode Island Abortion Laws

The U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion at the federal level, after having been prohibited for a few years. But just because the procedure is protected federally doesn't mean it is accessible to most residents in certain states, as several states have passed stiff regulations. For instance, many states have very strict codes for abortion clinic facilities, certain requirements for physicians, waiting periods, consent requirements, and other laws that have resulted in most abortion clinics in those states closing down. But the legality and regulation of abortion remain a hotly contested area of law, often divided by region and ideology.

The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering a legal challenge to Roe in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health. A decision is expected in June 2022.

Rhode Island Abortion Laws: Overview

In Rhode Island, patients under the age of 18 must get the written consent of at least one parent; but the state's regulations are relatively minor. The following chart contains additional details of abortion laws in Rhode Island, with links to related sources. See FindLaw's Abortion section for additional articles.

Code Section 23-4.7-1 to 8; 23-4.12-1 to 6
Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion (1) Failure to obtain informed consent (unless necessary to preserve life of mother); (2) failure to provide for any fetus born alive; administering to pregnant woman medicine, drug, instrument, etc. with intent to terminate pregnancy.
Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion -
Penalty for Unlawful Abortion Physician who violates consent provisions guilty of "unprofessional conduct;" failure to provide medical care for infant born alive: fine up to $5000 and/or imprisonment 5 years; charge of manslaughter if baby dies
Consent Requirements Informed written consent after required disclosures unless emergency; if mother under 18 years and unemancipated, parental consent of at least one parent required; court can consent
Residency Requirements for Patients -
Physician Licensing Requirements -

Note: State laws are subject to change at any time through the enactment of newly signed legislation or other means. You may want to contact a Rhode Island family law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Rhode Island Abortion Laws: Related Resources

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