House adopts several major components of Massachusetts Beyond Roe Agenda in abortion-focused package
Following the Supreme Court’s devastating ruling overturning Roe v. Wade last week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives today passed a package with several provisions to protect and expand abortion access (H.4930).
The new legislation includes several key components of the Massachusetts Beyond Roe Agenda, including:
- Measures to do everything within the state’s power to protect providers from hostile investigations, litigation, and harm to their professional standing when they provide reproductive health care and gender-affirming care that is lawful in the Commonwealth
- Provisions to guarantee insurance coverage for abortion and ensure the affordability of abortion and other reproductive health care for individual patients
- An emergency contraception standing order to simplify access to both prescription and over-the-counter emergency contraception
- Full compliance with the ROE Act, including closing a loophole that has resulted in some patients continuing to be sent out of state for later abortion care
- Privacy protections that enable providers to participate in an existing address confidentiality program run by the Secretary of the Commonwealth
“We thank House Speaker Ronald Mariano and House leadership for acting boldly and with urgency,” said Carol Rose, Executive Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. “The Supreme Court’s recent decision revokes the federal constitutional right to abortion. As a result, half the states are expected to ban abortion. Abortion access should never depend on where you live, who you are, or how much money you make. We are grateful that the Senate and House leaders are meeting this moment, and we urge them to continue to do all they can to promote reproductive freedom in Massachusetts.”
“The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn federal abortion protections reaffirms that the battle for reproductive freedom will be fought and won in the states. Today, the Massachusetts House is answering this challenge and taking meaningful action to expand access to reproductive health care,” said Rebecca Hart Holder, Executive Director of Reproductive Equity Now. “The provisions included in the House package will strengthen abortion access in Massachusetts by making care more affordable, ensuring that Massachusetts residents can get care in the Commonwealth instead of having to travel out of state, and doing everything in our power to protect our providers and patients from hostile actions by other states. We are grateful to have leadership in the House and Senate who are committed to breaking down barriers to care and making our Commonwealth a beacon for reproductive equity in a post-Roe America.”
“The progress we’ve made to protect abortion rights in Massachusetts distinguishes us at a time when millions of people across the country are losing their access to care. Now we must urgently expand access by making abortion care more affordable and supporting providers so they can safely provide care,” said Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. “I'm thrilled to see a timely and robust response to the Roe reversal by the House that includes several measures that will ensure we can deliver the care our patients deserve, and am grateful that we have an Administration, Speaker, and Senate President who have listened, worked together, and led during this unprecedented time.”
Last week’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturns landmark privacy and abortion protections enshrined in Roe v. Wade. The effects are immediate and far-reaching: More than half the states in the country are expected to severely restrict or ban abortion.
In Massachusetts, the ROE Act codifies the right to abortion into state law, recognizing abortion as a fundamental right and ensuring it will remain legal. But barriers to care—including exorbitant costs, complicated insurance coverage, and provider access deserts—still exist in the Commonwealth, especially for low-income communities, communities of color, and immigrant communities.
Following a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, the rebranded Beyond Roe Coalition—led by the ACLU of Massachusetts, Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts, and Reproductive Equity Now—launched an advocacy agenda to protect and expand abortion access in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Beyond Roe Agenda includes 21 legislative solutions, budget investments, and regulatory actions that state leaders can take to ensure Massachusetts remains a beacon for reproductive freedom.