Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today signed an historic abortion access package into law, breaking down cost barriers to abortion care, protecting abortion providers and helpers, and clarifying the ROE Act so that no one is forced to leave the state for care.
The new law includes 11 recommendations from the Massachusetts Beyond Roe Agenda, an advocacy plan put forward by the ACLU of Massachusetts, Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts, and Reproductive Equity Now. The Beyond Roe Coalition launched the advocacy agenda following the leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade to ensure Massachusetts remains a beacon for reproductive freedom. This week, the Governor also signed the FY2023 budget, which includes $2 million for abortion access and funds throughout the state, another recommendation from the Beyond Roe Agenda.
See the state’s progress on the Massachusetts Beyond Roe Agenda HERE.
“Everyone deserves the right to decide whether and when to start a family, no matter where they live, how much money they make, or who they are. But across half the states, millions of people are in danger of losing that right after the Supreme Court’s shameful decision to overturn Roe v. Wade," said Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. "As extremist politicians in other states move to ban or severely restrict abortion, Massachusetts lawmakers have stepped up to meet the moment and lead in the other direction, passing a historic law that makes care more affordable and available. We are profoundly grateful that Massachusetts legislative leaders have taken urgent action to safeguard and improve abortion access in our state. We should all be able to control our own bodies–and the work continues until all of us have the freedom to make the best medical decisions for our lives and families.”
“Today Massachusetts has made it indisputably clear: our Commonwealth will stand up to hostile attacks on life-saving and life-affirming health care,” said Rebecca Hart Holder, executive director of Reproductive Equity Now. “Our state has taken robust action to make abortion care more affordable and accessible, protect helpers and doctors who provide compassionate abortion and gender affirming care, simplify access to emergency contraception, and ensure no one is forced to leave our state for abortion care at any point in their pregnancy. We are incredibly grateful to the Legislature that fought day and night to pass this historic bill with so many of our recommendations from the Beyond Roe Agenda, and we look forward to working together to ensure full implementation. Massachusetts must remain a beacon for reproductive freedom in a post-Roe America, and our work does not stop until there is equitable access to reproductive health care for all.”
“This is a huge victory for patients and providers, who deserve the ability to seek, access, or deliver reproductive health care without fear or shame. With this law, Massachusetts unequivocally affirms that abortion is health care, and that zip code, income, or identity should not be a barrier to care,” said Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. “I am so proud that in the face of the Supreme Court’s unprecedented assault on reproductive freedom, Massachusetts is setting a national example for expanding abortion access and valuing the providers who work hard every day to deliver care, save lives, and help people control their own futures."
In addition to FY2023 budget funds for abortion access, the Economic Development bill, which is still being conferenced, also includes between $15-17 million for abortion providers and their clinics.
While the ROE Act codifies the right to abortion in Massachusetts state law, the new law helps break down many barriers to care in Massachusetts by mandating insurance coverage for abortion, simplifying access to emergency contraception, and ensuring college students in access deserts are able to obtain medication abortion on campus. The Beyond Roe Coalition remains committed to protecting and expanding equitable access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care in Massachusetts.