Massachusetts Bishops Urge Action Against ROE Act Abortion-Expansion Bill

Printed from:

The Roman Catholic bishops of Massachusetts have released a statement opposing the ROE Act abortion-expansion bill in Massachusetts and encouraging Catholics to contact their legislators about it.

“We urge all people of good will, regardless of what faith they practice, to vigorously oppose these extreme measures,” the bishops said in a written statement.

The announcement comes less than a week before the annual March for Life in Washington D.C., which typically draws tens of thousands of pro-lifers.

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, is asking a letter he wrote about what he calls the “deeply troubling” ROE Act bill be read at church during Masses this weekend and that an insert from the Massachusetts Catholic Conference be included in church bulletins. O’Malley’s letter is dated Sunday, January 19.

The bishops of Fall River and Worcester are also asking local pastors to include the insert in bulletins.

The insert notes that the ROE Act bill would remove a requirement in current law that a doctor try to save the life of a baby born alive after an attempted abortion, expand public funding for abortions, remove most remaining restrictions on late-term abortions, and end a current requirement that girls 17 and younger get permission from a parent or a judge to have an abortion.

The insert also analyzes a portion of the bill that deals with late-term abortions:

“In addition to aborting infants with fetal anomalies or where the fetus is incompatible with sustained life outside of the uterus, it allows physicians to perform abortions up until birth for a myriad of undefined reasons (ie: physical, emotional, psychological, familial, age) to protect a woman’s life, physical health or mental health. The result would become abortion on demand for the full term of pregnancy,” the insert states.

The ROE Act bill (Massachusetts Senate Bill 1209) was the subject of a marathon hearing June 17, 2019 before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary of the Massachusetts Legislature. It hasn’t been voted on by the committee. The ordinary deadline for the state Legislature to approve a bill this current legislative session is July 31, 2020.

The four Catholic bishops of Massachusetts also condemned the ROE Act bill in April 2019.

Supporters of the bill say abortion is a right, that Roe v. Wade is vulnerable to a new conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, and that Massachusetts should both recommit to abortion and expand access to it.

Opponents call it infanticide. They also argue that abortion is the unjustified taking of a human  life and should not be further encouraged.

O’Malley in his letter says the ROE Act legislation “goes far beyond the Roe v. Wade decision.”

“With your help and the help of your family, friends and neighbors, we must make every effort to ensure that these bills do not become law in Massachusetts. Your voice and the voices of all opposed to unprecedented expansion of abortion will make a difference. It is of critical importance that the women and men who represent us in the Legislature know where we stand on the protection of life,” O’Malley wrote.

Bishop Edgar da Cunha, the bishop of Fall River, also called on Catholics in his diocese to oppose the bill.

“Your voice and the voices of all opposed to expanding abortion access is critically important and must be heard loud and clear at the State House,” da Cunha wrote in a letter dated Sunday, January 19.

The web sites of the Archdiocese of Boston, the Diocese of Fall River, and the Diocese of Worcester as of this weekend mention the letter on the ROE Act bill prominently.


The web site of the Diocese of Springfield does not mention the letter, as of late Saturday, January 18. Here’s an image from the homepage:

Below are  images of the letter on the ROE Act abortion expansion bill signed by the four bishops:  Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston; Bishop Edgar da Cunha, bishop of Fall River; Bishop Robert McManus, bishop of Worcester; and Bishop Mitchell Rozanski, bishop of Springfield.