Former Catholic School Principal Co-Sponsored ROE Act Abortion Bill, Voted for ‘Infanticide’ Amendment

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A former Catholic school principal is among the Massachusetts state representatives who voted for an abortion expansion amendment that would remove a current requirement that doctors try to save the life of a baby who has survived an attempted abortion.

State Representative Steven Ultrino (D-Malden) served from July 2004 to June 2008 as principal of St. Mary’s in Winchester, which is a Catholic elementary school connected with the town’s parish. It is a school of the Archdiocese of Boston. Before that, he was a teacher at Malden Catholic (which is also an archdiocesan school) from 2001 to 2004, as his LinkedIn page confirms.

Both schools confirmed to New Boston Post by telephone on Friday that Ultrino worked at them during the timeframes described in his LinkedIn page.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that abortion violates what it calls “the inalienable right to life of every human individual” and that civil government has a duty to protect an embryo “from conception … like any other human being.”

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, has expressed opposition to the ROE Act bill, calling its provisions “extreme measures” — even for abortion-friendly Massachusetts. O’Malley led the archdiocese during the time Ultrino worked at Malden Catholic and at St. Mary’s.

A spokesman for O’Malley could not immediately be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Ultrino co-sponsored the initial ROE Act abortion expansion bill (S.1209/H.3320). He also voted for a version of it on the House floor November 12, as an amendment to the state budget bill.

Abortion is currently legal in Massachusetts almost without restrictions through 24 weeks. After 24 weeks, current state law allows abortions only “to preserve the patient’s physical or mental health.” Current state law also requires that doctors try to save the life of a baby born after an attempted abortion. Girls 17 and under currently need permission from a parent or a judge to get an abortion.

The proposed abortion amendment would make abortion after 24 weeks explicitly legal in cases “an abortion is warranted because of a lethal fetal anomaly incompatible with sustained life outside the uterus.” The amendment would lower the age of girls needing parental or judicial consent for an abortion from 17 to 15.

The amendment would also remove the provision in current state law requiring that a doctor try to save the life of a baby born after an attempted abortion. That portion of the amendment leads opponents to say it would legalize infanticide.

The abortion amendment would delete Section 12P of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 112, which states:

Section 12P. If an abortion is performed pursuant to section twelve M, the physician performing the abortion shall take all reasonable steps, both during and subsequent to the abortion, in keeping with good medical practice, consistent with the procedure being used, to preserve the life and health of the aborted child. Such steps shall include the presence of life-supporting equipment, as defined by the department of public health, in the room where the abortion is to be performed.

(Section 12M refers to abortions performed after 24 weeks of pregnancy.)

On Friday, Massachusetts Citizens for Life condemned Ultrino’s abortion amendment vote, arguing that it is not consistent with the Catholic faith.

“It is most disheartening and more than a little ironic that, as Massachusetts families prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, Rep. Ultrino plans to abandon his Catholic faith to support legislation that promotes infanticide.” MCFL executive director Patricia Stewart told New Boston Post in an email message.

Ultrino has not responded to requests for comment from New Boston Post since mid-November, including one made on Friday, December 4.

The abortion amendment is in the state budget bill that the state Legislature approved Friday, December 4 and sent to Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican who supports legal abortion but has expressed opposition to the ROE Act bill. If the governor vetoes the abortion amendment — which he has hinted he may do — then state legislators would have a chance to vote on it again. If two-thirds of each chamber votes to override the governor’s veto, it would become law.

The Massachusetts Senate is expected to vote to override a veto — if it comes — by a wide margin. The initial vote in November was closer in the Massachusetts House, where opponents of the amendment need to flip at least four votes to sustain a veto.