Democrats For Life of America Condemns Two Democratic State Reps For ROE Act Votes

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Two members of the Massachusetts Legislature that Democrats For Life previously supported have been condemned by the organization for supporting an abortion expansion bill.

Democrats For Life of America, an organization that supports pro-life Democrats and what it calls “a broad spectrum of life ethics,” opposes abortion expansion bills — including the latest version of the ROE Act bill (Massachusetts House Bill 5179).

Two legislators surprised many by voting for the bill — state Representative Bruce Ayers (D-Quincy) and state Representative Thomas Golden (D-Lowell). They also voted against amendments put forth by the state’s Republican governor, Charlie Baker, seeking to keep the current age when girls need the consent of a parent or a judge to get an abortion, and against an amendment put forth by two Republican state representatives seeking to restore language in current state law requiring doctors to try to save the life of a baby born alive after an attempted abortion.

Democrats for Life endorsed both representatives in 2014 under the impression that they were pro-life and not pro-abortion.

“We are grateful to the Democratic representatives who supported this sensible amendment but are deeply concerned that Representatives Bruce Ayers and Thomas Golden broke their pro-life promise and voted no,” said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America,  in a written statement. 

Day called supporting Baker’s parental consent amendment “an easy vote,” and said Ayers and Golden should be ashamed of their actions.

Baker’s amendment sought to keep parental and judicial consent for 16-year-old and 17-year-old girls seeking an abortion as a part of Massachusetts law. The abortion bill would allow 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds to get an abortion without getting permission from a parent or a judge.

The Lombardo-Sullivan GOP amendment in the Massachusetts House of Representatives aimed to guarantee life-saving care to babies born alive following an attempted abortion.

Democrats for Life called on Baker to veto the abortion bill.

“We strongly urge Republican Governor Charlie Baker to veto this horrific legislation,” Day said in a written statement. “… “Help pro-life Democrats keep protections for the unborn and their mothers in the Bay State.”

Citing 2018 abortion data from the Charlotte Lozier Institute, which also opposes abortion, Democrats for Life of America said that there were “18,256 unique, irreplaceable lives lost to the violence of abortion in Massachusetts.”

“The horrendous effects of this new bill will fall most heavily on pregnant teenagers and unborn children with disabilities, groups who deserve empowerment and life-affirming healthcare, not violence,” Democrats for Life said.

Day said the real need for women with problem pregnancies isn’t making abortion more accessible but rather making material assistance more readily available.

“We urge the legislature to end this fixation on making abortion more common and less safe,” Day said in a written statement. “Massachusetts should step back to look at the real inequality for women. It is not about abortion access. It is about a choice to parent or carry the child to term. There is a real inequity in the lack of support and resources to choose alternatives to abortion, particularly for low-income and minority communities.”

The current version of the abortion expansion bill would expand the definition of legal abortion in Massachusetts past 24 weeks to include cases where “an abortion is warranted because of a lethal fetal anomaly incompatible with sustained life outside the uterus.” Current state law allows for abortion after 24 weeks “to preserve the patient’s physical or mental health.”

The abortion bill would also eliminate language from current Massachusetts law that requires doctors to attempt to save the life of a baby born alive after an attempted abortion, by repealing 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.

In the 2017-2018 legislative session, Ayers got a B+ rating from NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, and Golden had a B. However, a 2004 report from Massachusetts Citizens for Life shows that both Golden and Ayers had pro-life voting records for a time.

The offices for Ayers and Golden could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday. Neither legislator has responded to requests for comment on the abortion legislation from New Boston Post made since November.

The Massachusetts Senate voted 8-32 to oppose Baker’s ROE Act amendment during a session on Friday afternoon. Baker now has until Monday, December 28 to veto the bill, sign it, or let it become law without his signature.