Sixteen of 47 Massachusetts Mayors Endorse ROE Act Abortion Expansion Bill

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Sixteen of the 47 mayors in Massachusetts are calling on state legislators to approve the ROE Act abortion expansion bill, including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

All are Democrats.

Walsh was one of six mayors who gathered outside the Massachusetts State House on Tuesday morning to stump for the bill, which would remove virtually all remaining restrictions on abortions after 24 weeks and would also remove a provision in state law requiring life-saving care for babies born alive after an attempted abortion. The bill would also remove a requirement in state law that girls 17 or younger get the consent of a parent or a judge in order to get an abortion. It would also remove a current requirement that abortions after 24 weeks take place in a hospital.

Supporters say the bill would enable women who find out late in their pregnancy that their fetus has a fatal condition to abort the fetus before giving birth, which they say is a good thing. They also tout the bill’s proposed expansion of public funding for abortion for women and girls not poor enough to qualify for MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program.

Opponents call the bill an attempt to legalize infanticide. They also say it would erode relationships between parents and their underage daughters and jeopardize the health of women seeking late-term abortions, which could take place in a clinic instead of at a hospital.

Among the supporters who gathered Tuesday, October 1, Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone said the bill would help destigmatize abortion and provides an opportunity “for us to actually act like the most progressive state in the United States,” according to State House News Service.

Walsh, who as a Dorchester state representative described himself as “personally pro-life,” made a statement endorsing the ROE Act bill.

“We shouldn’t be taking away rights from women,” Walsh said Tuesday, according to State House News Service. “We shouldn’t be taking rights away from families, and that’s why we’re putting a stake in the ground here in Massachusetts. That’s why we as mayors today are going to stand shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues in the Senate and the House and demand that action happens, that this bill be taken up, that this bill goes to the governor’s desk so that we can continue to add protections here in Massachusetts.”

Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican who legal and publicly funded abortion, has expressed skepticism about the ROE Act bill, saying he doesn’t support late-term abortions and that the bill goes too far.

Opponents of abortion have noted that black and Latino women tend to get a disproportionately high number of abortions, resulting in fewer black and Latino babies being born.

But two pro-ROE Act mayors said the bill would help people of color, according to State House News Service.

“As a person who represents many young women of color, many poor women in my community, any impediment to safe and legal abortion is really a risk to health in my whole community,” said Daniel Rivera, mayor of Lawrence, which is about 74 percent Latino, many of them Dominican.

Yvonne Spicer, mayor of Framingham, said women of color “have long lost the opportunities to be able to have affordable, quality health care, and these are the women that will promptly suffer if this does not move forward,” according to State House News Service.

The 16 mayors who signed a letter put together by NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts supporting the ROE Act abortion expansion bill are:


Marty Walsh, mayor of Boston

Joseph Petty, mayor of Worcester

Marc McGovern, mayor of Cambridge

Yvonne Spicer, mayor of Framingham

Daniel Rivera, mayor of Lawrence

Jon Mitchell, mayor of New Bedford

David Narkewicz, mayor of Northampton

Stephanie Burke, mayor of Medford

Donna Holaday, mayor of Newburyport

Gail Infurna, mayor of Melrose

Nicole LaChapelle, mayor of Easthampton

Alex Morse, mayor of Holyoke

Ruthanne Fuller, mayor of Newton

Kimberley Driscoll, mayor of Salem

Michael Cahill, mayor of Beverly

Gary Christenson, mayor of Malden