REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE

By Bob Katzen

The Senate 40-0, approved a bill designed to further protect reproductive health care and those who perform abortions in the Bay State. The measure specifically declares that both reproductive health care and gender-affirming care are rights secured by the constitution or laws of Massachusetts and would shield providers of reproductive and gender-affirming care and their patients from out-of-state legal action.

Other provisions include preventing the state’s cooperation with anti-abortion and anti-gender-affirming care laws in other states; mandating health insurance coverage for abortion and abortion-related care with no cost-sharing; ensuring access to emergency contraception; and providing confidentiality to providers of reproductive and gender-affirming care.

“Passing this legislation is a monumental step forward in Massachusetts, as we are seeing increasingly more anti-abortion and anti-gender-affirming care legislation rise across the country,” said Sen. Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington), Senate Chair of the Committee on Health Care Financing and the sponsor of the bill. “We must do everything to protect the rights of our providers, patients and visitors to the commonwealth. As we further realize the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision … we will continue to fight these attacks on reproductive and gender-affirming care with meaningful action.”

“A fundamental teaching of the Catholic faith is that an unborn child is a human person with the inalienable right to life and this life must be protected from conception to birth,” said a statement from the Massachusetts Catholic Conference. “It is in this light that the Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts have always strongly opposed abortion and all legislative efforts to expand the practice.”

“We cannot let other states threaten Massachusetts’ pregnant and transgender people, or the providers who take care of them,” said Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland). “Massachusetts will not waiver in protecting our residents’ rights. The Legislature prepared for the end of Roe v. Wade by passing the ROE Act in 2020, which ensured the continuation of reproductive healthcare services when we could no longer count on the federal government. Now, we must prepare our commonwealth for the potential further erosion of our rights and protections at the federal level.”

“The Legislature’s myopic pursuit of abortion and gender identity extremism is out of sync with the voters of Massachusetts, and seeks to undermine pro-life, pro-parental rights laws across the country,” said the president of the Massachusetts Family Institute Andrew Beckwith. “This bill also specifically grants Planned Parenthood the power to effectively re-write our commonwealth’s abortion laws through the regulatory process. When you combine that with the $15 million giveaway to abortion activists in the proposed state budget, it is clear what this is really about: our elected officials handing over power and money to their political allies in the abortion industry.”

(A “Yes” vote is for the bill).

Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes

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