Massachusetts Democratic State Reps Weigh In On Overriding Abortion Veto

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Democrats who voted to override Governor Charlie Baker’s veto of the abortion bill in the Massachusetts House of Representatives on Monday afternoon expressed satisfaction with the outcome.

The House voted 107-46 to override Baker with 105 Democrats voting for the ROE Act (H.5179) once again while state Representative James Kelcourse (R-Amesbury) and state Representative Susannah Whipps (U-Athol) joined them.

They voted in support of a bill that would expand the definition of legal abortion in Massachusetts beyond 24 weeks in cases where, “an abortion is warranted because of a lethal fetal anomaly incompatible with sustained life outside the uterus.” State law currently allows for abortion after 24 weeks “to preserve the patient’s physical or mental health.”

The bill would lower the age of those required to obtain parental or judicial consent for an abortion from 17 and younger to 15 and younger. Plus, it eliminates language from existing Massachusetts law that  requires doctors to attempt to save the life of a baby born alive after an attempted abortion. The legislation would do so 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.


New Boston Post contacted all 107 representatives who voted to override Baker on Monday, December 28. Of those 107, six responded. Here is what they had to say:


State Representative Nika Elugardo (D-Jamaica Plain)

“Massachusetts led today on ensuring equity in reproductive health care for people of all ages and backgrounds. While eliminating obstacles for younger women was controversial even in my progressive district, the changes we made in the Legislature make reproductive access safer and more fair. This is especially true for young women who may have safety issues at home or may be afraid to use courts to get permission to access healthcare. I am grateful to my colleagues for protecting the most vulnerable young patients seeking reproductive care by upholding the language removing such obstacles and overriding Governor Baker’s veto.”


State Representative Theodore Speliotis (D-Danvers)

“This bill continues to protect the rights of Massachusetts women to decide the fate of their own body.  For far too long we have told young women aged 16 and 17 that by law they could choose to have sex with a partner but, lacked the maturity to decide their rights to terminate that pregnancy.  

“Regardless of what happens across the United States or in our courts,  Massachusetts has once again tried to protect a woman’s right to decide the health and fate of her body.”


State Representative Christine Barber (D-Somerville)

“The ROE Act will reduce medically unnecessary barriers to reproductive health care in Massachusetts. I voted in favor of this provision so that everyone can access the health care they need, and so decisions can be made between a patient and their physician. I am proud that the House stood up for abortion access and reproductive rights.”


State Representative Carol Doherty (D-Taunton)

“Today the MA Legislature took an historic vote to codify reproductive rights into state law by overriding the Governor’s veto of amendments to the ROE Act.  With the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the transformation of the U.S. Supreme Court to a more conservative bench, the legislature has assured that reproductive freedom and improved access to reproductive healthcare be available to all women in the Commonwealth.  In her remarks to the Legislature Rep Claire Cronin said, ‘Making the difficult choice to terminate a pregnancy is a decision I wouldn’t want to have to make, but a choice I want to have.’ I share those sentiments.”


State Representative Stephan Hay (D-Fitchburg)

‘I’m pleased that the Commonwealth has once again supported women’s health care and their reproductive rights.”


State Representative Ruth Balser (D-Newton)

“I was proud to stand with the House today in voting to override the Governor’s veto of our ROE act legislation.

“By rejecting his action, we ensured that women in Massachusetts will continue to have access to reproductive health care regardless of changes that may come out of Washington.”