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Massachusetts House and Senate approve budget with amendments to codify abortion as a ‘right’

Massachusetts

UPDATE 11/19/2020: The Massachusetts Senate has passed the $46 million proposed budget including Amendment 180 which aims to expand abortion. The Senate approved the budget in a vote of 33-7 with an amendment that would legalize eugenic abortion after 24 weeks for “fatal fetal anomalies.” Currently, the law allows for abortion after 24 weeks for the health of the mother though abortion is never medically necessary. The amendment also lowers the age at which a teenager would need parental consent to undergo an abortion. Currently, anyone under 18 needs parental or judicial consent for an abortion. The amendment would change that to anyone under the age of 16. In addition, Amendment 180 will remove the language of current state law that requires doctors to attempt to save the life of a newborn abortion survivor.

Senate President Emerita Harriette Chandler (D) authored the amendment and said it must be passed in order to protect abortion access in Massachusetts because of the appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. All four Republican state senators and three Democrats voted against the amendment.

Lawmakers will now work to reconcile the differences between the two House and Senate budgets. They aim to have it on Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk by the end of the month.

UPDATE 11/13/20: The Massachusetts House has approved a $46 million budget that includes an amendment to expand abortion in the state. Members of the House voted 143-14 in favor of the proposed budget, which gives them enough to override the expected veto by Gov. Charlie Baker, according to WBUR.

If Amendment 759, given the Orwellian title “Improved Access to Healthcare,” is successful, it will enshrine abortion into state law, expand abortion after 24 weeks to include cases of fatal fetal anomalies, and will allow 16-year-olds to undergo abortions without parental or judicial permission.

The state Senate is expected to raise its own budget amendment on abortions next week, according to WBZ 1030.

11/12/20: Members of the Massachusetts House have moved to add an amendment to the state’s $46 million proposed budget that would codify abortion as a right and expand it in the state.

Rep. Claire Cronin (D), co-chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, filed Amendment 759, which is considered a version of the Massachusetts ROE Act. The Amendment would legalize abortion after 24 weeks for reasons other than the health of the mother (as the law currently states). It would also allow 16-year-olds to undergo abortions without parental consent.

The ROE Act has been in discussion in Massachusetts since 2019, but since the confirmation of conservative Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett last month, many legislative efforts to codify abortion into law have been fast-tracked. As Live Action News previously reported:

“This bill removes medical safeguards for vulnerable women, hides abortions for underage girls from their parents, increases late term abortions, and promotes infanticide for babies who survive an abortion,” Andrew Beckwith, President of the Massachusetts Family Institute told Live Action News. “What’s even more shocking, is that at Monday’s hearing, supporters of the bill admitted to all of it.”

The Act aims to legalize abortion throughout the entire pregnancy, remove parental consent laws, and allow non-doctors to commit abortions. It would also eliminate a requirement to provide medical care to a baby who survives an abortion. It is unclear how precisely the objectives of Amendment 759 line up with the ROE Act.

READ: Massachusetts puts profit over public safety, allowing abortions to continue during pandemic

 

“We are very concerned that Massachusetts’ women’s reproductive rights are under threat at the national level,” House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka said in a joint statement last week, according to The Boston Globe. “We are therefore committed to debate measures in the House and Senate this session that would remove barriers to women’s reproductive health options and protect the concepts enshrined in Roe v. Wade.”

DeLeo had previously warned House members not to use the annual budget to advance major policy changes; however, he made an exception for this amendment and thanked Cronin for helping to “accomplish those goals” of expanding abortion.

“I’m grateful to Chair Cronin for filing a thoughtful amendment that would accomplish those goals, in an expeditious manner, and look forward to bringing it before the House this week,” he said.

The House and Senate are working to get the annual budget to Gov. Charlie Baker by the end of November, but this amendment could stall efforts. Baker, a Republican who supports abortion, has previously stated that he does not believe changes to the state’s abortion laws are needed. According to Mass Live, Baker said, “I do not support late term abortions. I support current law in Massachusetts. It’s worked well for decades for women and families here in Massachusetts, and that’s what we support.”

Three hundred Massachusetts pastors asked Baker on Tuesday to veto the legislation, expressing concern about the already large number of abortions in the state. “In 2019 alone, there were 18,593 abortions performed in the Bay State,” they wrote. “How much more ‘accessible’ does the murder of unborn children need to be? Abortion ends the life of a human child and puts the physical, mental and emotional health of women, most especially young women, at risk.”

Gov. Baker has also stated, however, that he doesn’t want Massachusetts women to have to travel to other states for abortions, or to “get their problem solved.”

Abortion does not solve any problems. It has not ended child abuse, which has skyrocketed since the legalization of abortion in the United States. Abortion trauma puts women at increased risk of depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicide.

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