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May 17, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Abortion activists tried to cover the image of an unborn baby smiling in the womb Tuesday during a rally in the Rhode Island statehouse over a controversial proposed bill to expand abortion in state law.

Hundreds of pro-life advocates and abortion-supporters convened at the state’s capitol Tuesday as the Senate Judiciary Committee was set to vote on the legislation. The bill, which pro-life residents termed as extreme and going far beyond Roe v. Wade, failed to pass the committee.

The image that the abortion activists wanted covered was a smiling baby captured in a 4-D ultrasound, on a roughly 4’x 4’ sign that also included the text “Save me.”

During the demonstration, pro-abortion activists tried to cover the image of the smiling unborn child, primarily with Planned Parenthood-produced promotional signs that stated, “Protect safe, legal abortion.”

A local pro-life supporter took photos of the pro-abortion attempt to block the picture of the smiling child in utero and provided them to LifeSiteNews.

She also posted on Facebook about the effort to obstruct the view of the smiling baby.

“The Planned Parenthood people tried to cover up our signs!” Kara Young said. “They literally want to COVER UP THE TRUTH.”

“This sign is a real 4D image of a baby smiling in the womb, and the sign says Save Me,” she continued. “Look at that one guy directly covering up the baby’s smile. On our other sign like this one, they hung pro-abortion coat hangers over it. Classy.”

The “save me” sign is part of an effort to raise funds for a local highway billboard using the image to communicate the humanity of the unborn to passing motorists, the initiative associated with Young’s husband’s candidacy for Congress. 

While several states, such as Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, and Ohio, have passed strong pro-life laws to protect the unborn from abortion, and others like Louisiana and Missouri are close to joining them, a number have followed New York’s lead from January of this year, moving to codify unrestricted abortion on demand until birth in their state laws should Roe v. Wade be overturned. Rhode Island is among these latter states with its “Reproductive Healthcare Act.”

Lawmakers in the Rhode Island house had passed a companion bill in March, which was held for further study.

Some outlets reported that the Senate bill was dead after the committee vote Tuesday, but a report from the Providence Journal said the defeat raises the possibility of a Senate floor fight in the coming days, with lawmakers on the losing side potentially trying to attach the defeated abortion bill to other legislation.

Catholic leaders in the state were public in their support for life amid the bill’s defeat.

The Diocese of Providence posted a portion of the statement from Rhode Island Catholic Conference director Father Bernard Healey, along with a photo of pro-life advocates at the statehouse, on its Facebook page.

“We applaud the Senate Judiciary Committee for their courageous vote this evening in defense of human life and human dignity,” Father Healey said.

Providence’s Bishop Thomas Tobin tweeted his thanks to the committee legislators who voted in favor of life.

“Much appreciation and admiration to the State Senators who voted against the awful (and unnecessary) pro-abortion proposals last night,” Tobin said. “You did the right thing. You are profiles in courage. In this legislative stalemate, not one woman has been deprived of even a single ‘right.’”

Tobin continued: “And to the pro-life community, especially members of our parishes-thank you for your courageous and tireless witness to the dignity of human life. May God bless and reward you. But stay vigilant. In our culture today, the struggle for human life will be relentless.”