Massachusetts Republican Party Working To Get Born-Alive Protection Question On November 2022 Ballot

Printed from:

What should happen to a baby born alive following an attempted abortion?

As of now, such babies have no legal protection, and can legally be allowed to die without further medical intervention.

The Massachusetts Republican Party wants to ensure that those babies have access to medical care so they can survive after birth. Party officials hope to get a question on the November 2022 statewide ballot asking voters to ensure that such babies born alive get immediate medical attention — as state law provided prior to the enactment of the ROE Act abortion expansion bill in late December 2020.

The campaign to restore protection for abortion-surviving infants is spearheaded by state GOP chairman Jim Lyons. The campaign aims to use local volunteers across the state to gather signatures from registered voters to get the referendum before the state’s voters. Allied organizations involved include Renew Massachusetts Coalition, Massachusetts Citizens for Life, Massachusetts Family Institute, and the Massachusetts Alliance to Stop Public Funding of Abortion.

One organizer is Duxbury resident Tatyana Semyrog, a Soviet Union refugee and mother of three daughters who ran for state representative against state Representative Josh Cutler (D-Duxbury) last year. She is one of several Republican women taking part in the born-alive petition initiative.

Semyrog told NewBostonPost she plans to draw together a community of leaders and volunteers, and that she wants to mobilize people of all backgrounds who care about life issues to gather signatures. She also said that it excites her that the Massachusetts Republican Party wants to unify around saving born-alive babies and build an army of volunteers to help get it done.

When campaigning for state representative last year, Semyrog says she knocked on 10,000 doors to meet potential voters. Semyrog said that many people she met had a hard time believing that Cutler supported a bill that stripped this protection for newborn babies.

“It’s actually very surprising for me that while I ran my campaign and knocked on doors to speak with constituents, people had no idea about the ROE Act,” Semyrog told NewBostonPost in a telephone interview. “When I would mention it to them, they were shocked to learn that it would not provide care to babies born-alive. A lot of these constituents would vehemently deny that it was the case. They would say, ‘no way, no way!’ Then after the election, my opponent shamelessly voted the way that I warned people he would.”

“There was a clear disconnect between how shocking the legislation was that they proposed and how people couldn’t even fathom that it was the case and that their elected official went ahead and voted for it indignantly,” she added.

In December 2020, Massachusetts lawmakers enacted the ROE Act despite bipartisan opposition and vetoes from Governor Charlie Baker. The bill explicitly legalized abortion in Massachusetts after 24 weeks in cases of fatal fetal anomalies and eliminated the then-existing requirement that 16-year-old and 17-year-old girls get consent from a parent or a judge to get an abortion.

The ROE Act also  eliminated then-existing language from Massachusetts law that required doctors to attempt to save the life of a baby born-alive following an attempted abortion. It did 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.


Section twelve M referred to abortions performed after 24 weeks into a pregnancy.

Born-alive protections are generally popular nationwide. A February 2019 poll released by Susan B. Anthony List found that 77 percent of voters in the country “support legislation to ensure that a baby who survives a failed abortion be given the same medical treatment as any other baby born prematurely at the same age.” Only 9 percent opposed that idea, according to the poll.

Semyrog said that if the initiative makes the ballot, it should pass with many Democrats and independents also supporting the measure.

“This is such a no-brainer,” Semyrog said. “Letting a baby die without providing care, that’s inhumane. We are human beings who are compassionate toward our fellow human beings. You can argue about abortion and a baby being a ‘clump of cells,’ but this is a fully-born human being and to not provide care to it is just barbaric.”

“This is a rallying cry I’d say because it’s so extreme,” she added. “Anyone with a heart –Democrat, Republican, any religious group, any minority group — if this won’t raise you out of your seat to vote with your conscience, I don’t know what will.”

Semyrog said her experience growing up in the former Soviet Union is a major reason why she is passionately pro-life.

As she pointed out, abortion was viewed as a form of birth control in the Soviet Union. In Soviet Russia, abortions exceeded live births by a margin of nearly two-to-one in the late 1970s and 1980s when Semyrog lived there. She noted that it wasn’t all that uncommon for poorer women to have 17 to 20 abortions in their lifetime, and she said that her mother faced criticism for having 10 kids.

“Each time she went to the doctor pregnant with a new child she was mocked and told:  you are breeding poverty,” Semyrog said.

Another woman who will be involved with the campaign is GOP state committee member Debby Dugan of Watertown, a former member of the conservative Renew Massachusetts Coalition. 

She told NewBostonPost that the Massachusetts Legislature was wrong to strip protections from babies born alive following an attempted abortion — and that the MassGOP wants to right a wrong.

“For those of us, who wish to preserve and protect every child, we will gather signatures in the light of day,” Dugan said by email. “We will educate voters. Voters are horrified when they understand that medical care is not required for BABIES BORN ALIVE!”

“We will enlist the help of friends, family and strangers to defeat this evil in our time!” she added.  “America has turned away from her God. We need to pray and ask for God to heal our land. This begins, one heart at a time for LIFE!”

There are several steps the MassGOP will need to complete to get a born alive protection question on the November 2022 ballot, as Amendment Article 48 of the Massachusetts Constitution lays out.

The party must file an initiative petition signed by at least 10 registered voters and submit it to Attorney General Maura Healey’s office by the first Wednesday in August. The AG then determines whether the petition is constitutional or not — and if it is, the office certifies the petition and the petitioner can file with the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office.

Then, the petitioners have to collect at least 80,239 authentic signatures from registered Massachusetts voters to get their initiative on the ballot. They can start collecting signatures by mid-September and have until 14 days before the first Wednesday in December (November 17 in this case) to file those signatures with local elections officials. Then, they must file the signatures certified by local election officials with the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office by the first Wednesday of December. One caveat, however:  no more than one-quarter of these certified signatures can come from any one county in the state.

If supporters of the born-alive referendum meet the threshold, the Massachusetts Legislature would formally receive the proposal in January 2022.

If the state Legislature doesn’t  pass the measure before the first Wednesday in May 2022, then the process would continue. At that point, supporters must collect at least 13,374 more authentic signatures from unique Massachusetts voters and file them with local election officials 14 days before the first Wednesday in July 2022. Then, they must file certified signatures with the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office by the first Wednesday in July 2022. The rule limiting signatures from any one county to one-quarter of the total also applies at this stage.

If supporters can do all of that, then the measure will make the ballot in the next statewide general election — in this case the November 2022 ballot.

Those interested in getting involved with the initiative can visit this form to sign up to volunteer.


New to NewBostonPost?  Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts.  But you’ve found it.  Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months.  And join the real revolution.