As companion bills aimed at allowing abortion up until the moment of birth continue to be stalled, Massachusetts lawmakers are now working to insert an amendment into the state budget that would accomplish the same goal.
State Representative Claire Cronin, the co-chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, filed Amendment 759, which would be added to the annual budget bill. The leadership of both houses of the Massachusetts General Court have spoken out in favor of the amendment, which is similar to the ROE Act that failed.
“Following last week’s joint statement with Senate President Spika, in which we have expressed concern over the threat to women’s reproductive rights on the national level, it is urgent that the House take up an immediate measure to remove barriers to women’s reproductive health options and protect the concepts enshrined in Roe v. Wade,” state House Speaker Robert DeLeo said in a statement Monday.
DeLeo’s statement came just a week after he argued that the state budget was “not an appropriate place for major policy reform.”
Bill S.1209, “An Act to Remove Obstacles and Expand Abortion Access” (ROE Act), was introduced on Jan. 22, 2019, on the 46th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide.
If passed, the bill would allow abortionists to perform abortions when “the patient is beyond 24 weeks from the commencement of pregnancy and the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or physical or mental health, or in cases of lethal fetal abnormalities, or where the fetus is incompatible with sustained life outside the uterus.”
A companion bill, H.3220, “An Act Removing Obstacles and Expanding Access to Women’s Reproductive Health,” was introduced on the same day. Both bills were referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, which has a deadline of Thursday to make a recommendation on the legislation. The deadline has already been extended twice since the bills were introduced at the beginning of the 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
As Massachusetts Citizens for Life explained, the legislation has become known as the ROE Act to reflect its promise to “remove obstacles and expand access to abortion.”
The pro-life group maintains that “the bill would enable girls as young as 12 to obtain abortions without any adult, except the abortionist, knowing about it,” and would “remove life-saving medical equipment from rooms where abortions are performed, risking the lives of babies, Massachusetts citizens, who survive the procedure.”
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