November 17, 2020

Massachusetts House Approves Abortion-Promoting Budget Amendment

Massachusetts State House
photo credit: Emmanuel Huybrechts / Flickr
The Massachusetts House of Representatives voted 143-14 to approve a budget proposal including an amendment to expand abortion in the state. If the "Improved Access to Healthcare" amendment is also approved by the Senate, it will create a right to abortion under state law, legalize abortion after 24 weeks gestation in cases of fetal anomalies, and allow 16-year-olds to have abortions without parental permission.

Efforts to codify or negate abortion rights in states throughout the country increased last month in response to Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation to the Supreme Court. If Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court, the ability to legalize abortion will fall to the states. In a joint statement, Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka voiced their support of the legislation.

“We are very concerned that Massachusetts’ women’s reproductive rights are under threat at the national level,” the statement reads. “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.”

The overwhelming margin in the House would easily override a veto by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. The Republican Governor is a pro-abortion Republican, but he has also stated that he does not believe the state's abortion laws should change.

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