The MA Roe Act, what it is, and why it is so important now

UPDATES! The bill was passed on from the Joint Committee on Health to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. Judiciary immediately scheduled a hearing and we plan to have a presence at this hearing, join us! See more details about the hearing and how to attend. If you can’t attend we ask that you send an email with written testimony, see more details on how to do that here.  We’ve also done research on the Facts vs, Myths based on the language being used by opposition groups, learn more about that in this post and a post about the misogyny of the misuse of the word infanticide.

The Massachusetts Roe Act includes two bills, one filed in the Senate and one filed in the House:

  • S1209/ H.3320 ROE Act: Would remove obstacles and expand abortion access. Would protect the health safety and privacy of young people by removing permission from a parent or judge to obtain an abortion. Ensures medical decisions are between a patient and her doctor. Establishes a safety net coverage for abortion care that already exists for other pregnancy care for people excluded from Mass Health. Senator Chandler and Rep Livingstone – Assigned to Joint Committee on Public Health – passed to The Joint Committee on the Judiciary with a hearing set for June 17.

Download an info-graphic sheet supplied by NARAL here , fact sheet provided by the MA ROE Coalition, here, and a Myth vs Fact sheet, addressing some of the MA Catholic Bishops, MA Citizen’s for Life and the MA GOP’s lies, here.

We need you to start contacting your State Senator and Rep. The first contact will be simply to tell your Senator and Rep, that you support the Roe Act because you believe in safe and legal abortions. A call or email takes a minute.  Find contact information for Cape Cod and Islands districts here, for other MA districts State Senators are here, State Reps are here. Not sure who your State Senator or Rep is? Check here.

This bill is currently in committee, waiting for a hearing. This bill addresses several obstacles in place right now. Each of these issues has generated opposition based on false rhetoric from the religious right, and the MA Republican party.  Yes, the MA GOP is working hard to prevent this bill from passing. We will address several of the issues in detail in coming posts, and give you the information you need to counter the false and inflammatory rhetoric.

The Roe Act will include:

  • Removing mandatory requirements that teenage girls must go before a judge if they don’t want to get parental permission for an abortion. (Note, judges never deny the procedure, this just creates a hurtle and is embarrassing and difficult for many young people.)
  • Allowing a woman to make that heartbreaking decision not to continue a pregnancy when a fetus is not viable. The opposition calls this late-term abortion, a term that actually refers to a pregnancy that continues beyond the delivery date.  Regardless, no one is delivering babies and killing them – inflammatory, false rhetoric created to incite opposition to this bill. In truth only 1% of pregnancies are ended in the third trimester and that is due to a risk of the mother’s health or a fatal fetal anomaly.
  • Allowing Mass Health to pay for abortions, like other healthcare plans.  By not allowing Mass Health to pay for abortions we are creating further hardship for those women who are already struggling to make ends meet.
  • Eliminating other laws currently on our books that are not enforced, for example,  did you know MA law states that a woman has to wait 24 hrs to get an abortion? This is the kind of law that would be enforceable if SCOTUS continues to strip Roe v. Wade or if it is overturned. We must remove these laws, now.

 

The ROE Coalition legal summary of the ROE Act bills:

  1. The ROE Act will ENSURE equitable access to abortion by:
    • eliminating the onerous judicial bypass process teenagers must navigate to access safe, legal abortion, aligning young people’s ability to access abortion with their ability to access all other pregnancy-related care;and
    • bolstering access to safety-net coverage for abortion regardless of a resident’s income or legal status, which already exists for all other pregnancy-related care.
  2. The ROE Bill will PROTECT the patient-provider relationship by:
    • expanding access to abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy in cases of fatal fetal anomalies;
    • eliminating unwarranted government intrusions and criminal penalties; and•ending intrusive reporting requirements that jeopardize physician safety and patient privacy.
  3. The ROE Bill will REFORM our outdated state laws and language by:
    • removing medically inaccurate and inflammatory language that effectively establishes fetal personhood and marginalizes the lives of pregnant people;
    • abolishing medically unnecessary abortion restrictions, including a currently unenforceable 24-hour waiting period and a requirement that any abortion after 24 weeks take place in a hospital;and
    • codifying the principles of reproductive freedom into state law to prevent any future restrictions on the right to safe, legal abortion

 

The Roe Act has taken on a new urgency as states around this country introduce bills that would make it impossible for a woman to choose to have an abortion, the goal of each of these bills – and there are many more than the recent headlines – is to overturn Roe v. Wade, or strip away at it by allowing states to put laws into place that will make it impossible for clinics to operate (trap laws).  We need laws in place here in MA, that protect a woman’s right to choose, to be ready for the inevitable.

We must protect a woman’s right to choose.   If you are of a certain age, it feels like we are moving back in the time.

 

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(If you see errors or omissions please contact CapeCodWomenforChange@gmail.com)

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