By State Representative Christine P. Barber
In Massachusetts, we often believe that our health care rights are protected, no matter the chaos at the federal level. But with the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the rushed confirmation of radical conservative Amy Coney Barrett, our reproductive rights are at risk.
Right now, 17 abortion-related cases are just one step from the Supreme Court — and any one of them could dismantle Roe v. Wade. The reality is that our reproductive rights are holding on by a thread in this country – even in Massachusetts.
When someone makes the personal decision to have an abortion, they should be able to access that care without shame, stigma, or medically unnecessary barriers. That is their legal right. Period.
Yet for far too many people in our Commonwealth — particularly people of color, people with modest incomes, and LGBTQ+ people— barriers push abortion dangerously out of reach.
That’s why I am proud to be a co-sponsor of the ROE Act. As a long-time health advocate, I know the ROE Act is a common sense public health policy to preserve reproductive rights and dismantle medically unnecessary barriers to abortion.
Barriers like forcing young people to go before a judge to access the care they need. Or for people who learn the heart-wrenching news that their pregnancy is not viable beyond 24 weeks and who are currently forced to travel across the country to get care that they can’t get in Massachusetts– if they can afford to do so.
Every Massachusetts resident deserves the freedom to make decisions that are right for them and their families. Every Massachusetts patient should be able to receive care when and where they need it. That includes reproductive care. We have the opportunity to lead the nation by tearing down barriers to care by passing the ROE Act.
It is time to take a stand for our right to reproductive justice and honor Justice Ginsburg’s Legacy. Massachusetts can act now to make abortion safe, legal and accessible for all. Almost 30 years ago, Justice Ginsburg said access to reproductive care is “central to a woman’s life, to her dignity.” In the legislature, we must ensure that our laws continue to uplift dignity.
That’s why I’m fighting for the ROE Act.