Massachusetts Senate overturns veto, passes law expanding access to abortion: NPR

Women’s rights activists, including Jane Marcus of Medford, pictured in May, have urged the legislature to pass legislation that codifies abortion rights into state law.

Jessica Rinaldi / Boston Globe via Getty Images


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Jessica Rinaldi / Boston Globe via Getty Images


Women’s rights activists, including Jane Marcus of Medford, pictured in May, have urged the legislature to pass legislation that codifies abortion rights into state law.

Jessica Rinaldi / Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Massachusetts State Senate joined the State House of Representatives on Tuesday to pass legislation that enshrines abortion rights in state law and expands access to young people under 16 years. The two-chamber decision overturns Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto on the measure last week.

The ROE law, as it is called, will allow abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy in cases of fatal fetal abnormality and in cases where a doctor deems it necessary “to preserve the physical or mental health of the patient.”

It also lowers the age at which people can request an abortion without the consent of a parent or a judge from 18 to 16.

Senator Harriette Chandler, who was behind one of the bills, said she was proud of the legislature’s actions to ensure residents’ “reproductive freedoms”.

“Pregnant people who once faced almost insurmountable barriers to accessing abortion care can now seize the right to control their own bodies,” Chandler said in a tweet Tuesday.

The ROE Act Coalition, which coordinated a statewide effort to pass the new law, celebrated the Senate vote, calling it a victory and a major milestone.

“With the provisions of the ROE law now in effect, most young adults seeking abortions will be able to access the care and support they need without having to resort to the legal system, and pregnant women facing a fatal fetal diagnosis more late in pregnancy will be able to access abortion care here. in Massachusetts, with a provider they know and trust, rather than traveling across the country for treatment, ”organizers said in a report. declaration.

Governor Baker vetoed the bill on Christmas Eve after the legislature rejected his revisions. In a letter to lawmakers, the Republican governor said he “strongly” supports the right to access reproductive health care, including the bill’s provision that would make abortions available after 24 weeks of pregnancy if the fetus would not survive after birth, State House News Service reported.

He also agreed that a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion is not necessary. However, he opposed revisions to the law that removed legal barriers for minors seeking to terminate a pregnancy.

“I cannot support the sections of this proposal that expand the availability of term abortions and allow 16 and 17 year olds to have an abortion without the consent of a parent or guardian,” Baker wrote.


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