By Bob Katzen
The senate 33-7, 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 at which a minor can choose to have an abortion without parental or judicial consent.
“In a state where 88 percent of residents believe that abortion should be legal, I believe that we must put that right into statute,” said sponsor Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester). “We must enshrine ROE into the General Code, so that no matter what happens at the federal level—no matter what happens in any court—our people are always protected under law.”
“By setting the age of consent at 16, this amendment makes our statutes more internally consistent,” continued Chandler. “It aligns the age that a young person can consent to sex with the age that they can make the decision to terminate a pregnancy.”
“At a time when we are largely shutting down the commonwealth (again) in response to a disease that has claimed the lives of 10,000 Bay Staters, legislators are pulling out all the stops to expand the practice of abortion, which routinely ends over 18,000 lives a year in Massachusetts,” said Massachusetts Family Institute President Andrew Beckwith. “Does this blatant hypocrisy even occur to them? After a tumultuous summer of nationwide protests and riots, does no one on Beacon Hill see the fact that black babies are aborted at four times the rate of white babies every year in the commonwealth as an egregious example of systemic racism?”
“We applaud the Senate for adopting [the amendment] and for overwhelmingly rejecting an anti-abortion effort to undermine the amendment,” 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. “By removing medically unnecessary barriers to care in Massachusetts law, [the amendment] reaffirms that abortion is essential, time-sensitive health care. The amendment also takes an important step forward by codifying the right to abortion care into Massachusetts state law”.
“The title of this law is purposely misleading, as an abortion is protected by law in Massachusetts and will not change based on the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton). “This law did two things: First, it removed the parent or guardian consent, or a judge’s permission, requirement for 16- and 17-year-old children to get an abortion. At 16, you can’t drive a car without parental or guardian oversight, nor can you get a tattoo, get your ear pierced, or buy Sudafed from a pharmacy. Second, it created the right to an abortion for any reason up until the day of birth, which used to be capped at 24 weeks unless the life of the mother was in threat. I believe adults should be involved in these sensitive, life changing matters for children.”