Abortion Bill Opponents Note Timing of House Veto Override – On the Feast of the Holy Innocents

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2020/12/28/abortion-bill-opponents-note-timing-of-house-veto-override-on-the-feast-of-the-holy-innocents/

Opponents of the Massachusetts abortion bill are highlighting the timing of the House vote overriding the governor’s veto – the day when several Christian denominations mark the slaughter of infants.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives voted 107 to 46 to pass the bill over the objections of the governor on Monday, December 28 – celebrated as the Feast of the Holy Innocents in the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of England, and the Lutheran Church. (Orthodox churches also observe the feast, but on different days.)

The bill, which is likely to be enacted after an override vote in the Massachusetts Senate, removes a requirement in state law that babies born alive after an attempted abortion receive life-saving care.

The slaughter of the innocents is recounted in Chapter 2 of the Gospel of St. Matthew. Herod the Great, the king of Judea, ordered the mass killing as a means of trying to kill the baby Jesus, according to the Gospel account.

Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, noted on Monday that Governor Charlie Baker vetoed the abortion bill on Christmas Eve.

“Today, @SpeakerDeLeo and MA Reps just voted to override and force #infanticide into law on the Feast of the Holy Innocents,” Beckwith said in a tweet minutes after the House vote Monday afternoon.

Outgoing Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo, whose green-lighting of the abortion legislation in November made it possible, announced his resignation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives about an hour after the override passed the House on Monday. (DeLeo plans to take a job with Northeastern University.) DeLeo’s resignation letter was accepted into the House’s record at 1:58 p.m., one hour two minutes after the abortion bill veto override tally was announced.

Jim Lyons, the chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, who served with DeLeo as a fellow state representative for eight years, found the timing troubling.

“It’s interesting that DeLeo resigned immediately after he became the second King Herod. For those who don’t know, you can explain how King Herod massacred all the infants in Bethlehem at the time of the birth of Jesus,” Lyons said in a telephone interview with New Boston Post. “How ironic, that he stayed in office long enough to get this piece of legislation passed which allows the killing of babies after they’re born. How shameful, Robert DeLeo. How shameful. A very sad day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”

DeLeo could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bill Gillmeister, executive director of Renew Massachusetts Coalition, which opposes the abortion bill, noted that legislators passed the bill during a lame-duck session after the November 2020 general election. He predicted that it will be a campaign issue during the next election.

“This is very sad day in Massachusetts history. We have 107 members of the House of Representatives who voted in favor of allowing babies born alive to be allowed to die, of allowing 16 and 17 year-old girls to get an abortion without parental advice, and of allowing late-term abortions up to birth,” Gillmeister said in an email message. “And the fact that they voted on this after the election is simply despicable. We will be looking to 2022 to challenge many of these legislators.”

The bill the House passed on Monday is a toned-down version of the original ROE Act bill filed in January 2019. Whereas the original version of the bill sought to eliminate the need for girls of any age to get the consent of a parent or a judge to get an abortion, the current version (Massachusetts House Bill 5179) lowers the age of consent, allowing 16-year-old and 17-year-old girls to get an abortion on their own.

The original version of the ROE Act also sought to eliminate a requirement in state law that abortions after 24 weeks take place in a hospital and in the presence of life-saving equipment – provisions that the new version of the bill keeps in place.

Myrna Maloney Flynn, president of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, said the campaign against the ROE Act bill, while ultimately unsuccessful, was useful because it opened the eyes of some people in the state, including Governor Baker, who generally supports legal abortion but ultimately vetoed the bill.

“The ROE Act was introduced nearly two years ago. Every day since then, the thousands of Massachusetts Citizens for Life members, who reside in every corner of our state, used their voices to speak for those who cannot. They learned the truth about this irresponsible and dangerous legislation and bravely spread that truth within their communities — even during a pandemic,” Flynn said Monday in a written statement.

“So while we pause today to grieve for the many lives that will be severely damaged and lost as a result of the ROE Act, we anticipate, much as the abolitionists did, the inevitability of a brighter tomorrow,
 Flynn said. “We know without a doubt that our supporters, by their advocacy over the last 24 months, changed minds and opened hearts — even our governor’s. And we look forward to continuing our work alongside the citizens of Massachusetts, who already know the value of human life and are eager to educate and support others and to ultimately illuminate the inherent right to life of the unborn.”

On the pro-abortion-bill side, advocates claimed victory but were still bristling over Governor Baker’s veto.

Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts called the override a step for “equitable abortion access” and “reproductive freedom.”


NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts praised legislators for standing up to what the organization called Baker’s “anti-choice attacks.”


On the opposition side, the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts called the override vote “a moral tragedy, which will likely result in even more pre-born children being cruelly killed under the color of law, and which is compounded by the reality that a clear majority of baptized Catholics in the House voted to license this grave evil.”

Thomas Harvey, chairman of the Massachusetts Alliance to Stop Taxpayer Funded Abortions, said he favors trying to put a ballot question before the voters in November 2022 on aspects of the abortion bill, including the protection for babies born alive and parental consent.

“I can’t believe that the majority of people in this state think it’s a good idea to lower the age of consent, for instance,” Harvey said in a telephone interview.