LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES INCREASE ABORTION ACCESS

By Bob Katzen

The House 108-49, approved a budget amendment that would allow abortions after 24 weeks in the case of lethal fetal anomalies and lower the age from 18 to 16 that a minor can choose to have an abortion without parental or judicial consent.

The amendment’s sponsor Rep. Claire Cronin (D-Easton) did not respond to repeated attempts by Beacon Hill Roll Call asking her to comment on passage of the amendment.

Republican Minority Leader Brad Jones (D-North Reading) criticized Speaker DeLeo for bringing this non-budget policy proposal forward after DeLeo had said the budget was no place for outside amendments this year. “It raises the question whether agreements and understandings really mean anything,” said Jones. “I don’t deny the underlying issue is important, critically important to members and to the public. But to be done as part of the budget process is wrong. I don’t care what side of the issue you’re on, being done as part of the budget process in a lame duck session, under the cover of darkness, in the midst of a pandemic is wrong.”

“The House of Representatives has taken a critical first step in removing medically unnecessary barriers to abortion care and ensuring that Bay Staters are no longer forced to fly across country or forced to go to court in order to get the abortion care they need,” read a statement from The ROE Act Coalition which includes the ACLU of Massachusetts, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts and Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts. “While our work is far from over, the ROE Act Coalition recognizes the passage of [this amendment] as a significant accomplishment, years in the making.”

Rep. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut) pointed out several current laws that prohibit actions by people under the age of 18. “If a young girl cannot get married, if she cannot smoke a cigarette, if she can’t drink alcohol, if she can’t vote—I certainly don’t think that she should be able to get a third-trimester abortion without parental or the judicial bypass,” said Garry. “[In] July 2018 we codified Roe v. Wade. This is not protecting Roe v. Wade, this is expanding abortion to the moment of birth and it is just wrong under those circumstances.”

(A Yes” vote is for the amendment expanding abortion. A “No” vote is against it.)

Rep. Christine Barber Yes Rep. Mike Connolly Yes Rep. Denise Provost Yes

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