Yesterday I attended a Stop the Bans rally in Northampton. Similar demonstrations were held all over the country in response to the draconian anti-abortion laws that Alabama and other states have passed. It is very depressing to me that reproductive rights are so threatened in 2019 when I can remember marching for the right to have an abortion in New York City in the late 1960’s. Abortion became legal in New York State in 1970.
Abortion was not legal in Massachusetts until Roe v. Wade in 1973. Massachusetts was also one of the last states to legalize birth control. However, last year, Gov. Baker, a Republican signed the Nasty Women Act which repealed several old laws regarding abortion and birth control. Nasty stands for Negating Archaic Statutes Targeting Young Women; legislators felt the bill was necessary in the wake of Brett Kavanaugh ‘s appointment to the Supreme Court.
Several of the speakers at yesterday’s rally spoke about pending legislation in Massachusetts, the Roe Act. This legislation would remove the requirement of parental consent for an abortion for people under the age of 18. The Roe Act also provides health care coverage for abortions for people who don’t have Mass Health.
Current Massachusetts law does not provide abortion coverage after 24 weeks. The Roe Act would extend that time period in cases of fatal fetal anomalies. Other provisions of the bill include ending the currently required 24-hour waiting period, and codifying the principles of reproductive freedom into state law. You can get more information about the Roe Act here.