These Advocates For Life Did Their Part — Will We Do Ours?

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                                                                                        Gaudium Vitae

When the sun goes down this afternoon, look out your window, in the direction of Beacon Hill, and you may well see a slight yet undeniable glow coming from the State House. Last month, the previous legislative session ended with passage of the ROE Act abortion expansion bill. Though that amendment to the state budget was somewhat diluted from its original because of admirable and resilient pro-life advocacy, a dark shadow nonetheless hovered. 

But several new pieces of life-affirming legislation have been filed this session — each a point of light, sponsored by state representatives who simply, bravely, stepped up and lit a match. 

Now it’s our turn. Each bill needs additional legislators to co-sponsor, and those commitments need to be made by the end of business tomorrow, Friday, February 26. Please take a look at the bills below then contact your legislator and request that he or she cosponsor them.

In an effort to ensure legal protection of abortion survivors, which the ROE Act erased, state Representative Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica) filed HD 1570, the Babies Born Alive Protection Act. According to Renew Massachusetts Coalition, this bill would “restore the requirement that a doctor take all reasonable steps to save the life of a baby born alive during a botched abortion.”

Summaries and respective sponsors for five additional bills follow. (Docket numbers included here will change in several weeks, once the bills are assigned to committees.)


State Representative David DeCoste (R-Norwell, Fifth Plymouth District):

1.  An Act relative to unborn victims of violence – HD 2658

The purpose of this bill is to recognize the unborn child at any stage of prenatal development as a victim of violent crime. Currently, Massachusetts law affords partial coverage for unborn victims after viability in cases of vehicular homicide and involuntary manslaughter. It does not recognize the unborn child killed at an earlier state of prenatal development. This bill seeks to identify an unborn child at any state of prenatal growth as a victim in cases of murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, assault, battery, and assault and battery.


2.  An Act to establish criteria to assess the maturity of a minor seeking an abortion, record keeping — HD 2657

By law in Massachusetts, a minor under age 16 must have the consent of one parent to obtain an abortion or go to court to obtain a judge’s consent. In ruling, the judge is required to assess the minor’s maturity, but the law does not provide any guidance on how a judge should make that determination. State Representative DeCoste filed HD 2657, which would mandate criteria for the judge to apply in measuring the maturity of a minor in this situation. The bill also would also require the judge to maintain a record of the number of abortion requests the judge rules on, the number that are granted or denied, and the age of the minor making the request — and to report these statistics annually to the Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Health. The Commissioner would then be required to compile and report this data annually.


State Representative Joseph McKenna (R-Webster, Eighteenth Worcester District):

3.  An Act relative to instruction in pregnancy and prenatal care — HD 4018

This bill would require seventh, eighth, or ninth grade students to be taught the correct, scientific facts about human prenatal development. The goal of this instruction is to help them recognize the humanity of the unborn and prepare them for the responsibilities of future parenthood.

An understanding of the humanity of the unborn is likely to reduce the number of abortions, and the study of human development completes a student’s understanding of biology. Studies have shown that ignorance of prenatal development contributes to insufficient prenatal care, poor nutrition, and continued use of drugs and alcohol during pregnancy, all of which cause severe adverse physical consequences for the developing child.


4.  An Act relative to taxation (taxpayer conscience protection) — HD 4023

Did you know that Massachusetts uses a portion of your income taxes to pay for abortions? The Taxpayer Conscience Protection Act addresses this inequity by allowing taxpayers to redirect the portion of their tax money that would pay for abortions to, instead, fund implementation of the Baby Safe Haven program that allows a desperate parent to surrender an unwanted newborn, legally and anonymously, at a safe location instead of abandoning the child. This program has saved lives and caused a drop in the number of infant exposure deaths since it was enacted in 2004. The bill would not reduce the amount of taxes collected; it would just enable abortion opponents to earmark their taxes to fund life-saving and public information efforts.

State Representative McKenna also filed HD 67, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act.


State Representative Alyson Sullivan (R-Abington, Seventh Plymouth District):

5.  An Act relative to unborn victims of Down Syndrome – HD 3424

Since advances in prenatal testing, unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome have been increasingly targeted for abortion at a high rate. A study in 2012 found that two out of three babies with Down syndrome in the United States were aborted. This appalling increase prompted several states to enact laws to protect unborn babies from this discrimination. Bill HD 3424, filed by state Representative Alyson Sullivan, follows this trend, seeking to prohibit an unborn child from being aborted merely based on a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The bill is modeled after the Ohio antidiscrimination law that is being challenged in an action pending in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The U.S Justice Department filed an amicus brief in January 2020, supporting the law’s constitutionality.


Myrna Maloney Flynn is a communications practitioner with leadership experience in marketing, broadcasting, nonprofit development, and education. She serves as Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Montrose School in Medfield, Massachusetts. She is also the President of Massachusetts Citizens for Life.