Pro-Lifers Say Maura Healey’s Pro-Abortion Politics Played A Role In Her Blocking Born-Alive Ballot Initiative

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Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey rejected a proposed ballot initiative that would ask voters to reinstate the state’s born-alive law — and pro-lifers aren’t happy about it.

On Wednesday, Healey rejected a proposed initiative that would have guaranteed medical care to babies born alive after an attempted abortion. Healey argued that the language was too vague for voters. As it stands, the proposal cannot move forward and try to collect signatures to make the ballot, barring a successful appeal to the state’s highest court.

Bernadette Lyons, who chairs the Massachusetts Newborn Protection Coalition, which is spearheading the ballot initiative, told NewBostonPost by telephone early Wednesday evening that supporters of the initiative plan to appeal the Attorney General’s decision to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

“There’s nothing at all ambiguous about any of this,” Lyons said in a written statement issued earlier in the day by the Massachusetts Republican Party. “How is a legal guarantee to provide life-saving medical care for babies born alive ambiguous? It cannot get any clearer than that.”

A spokesman for Healey declined on Wednesday to provide comment on the decision to NewBostonPost, but directed questions to a letter from the Attorney General’s office posted on the state’s web site describing Healey’s objections.

Supporters of the born-alive ballot question say the initiative language is specific and proper. They say that Healey is a pro-abortion ideologue who didn’t want to see a pro-life initiative on the ballot.

MassGOP chairman Jim Lyons (who is the husband of Bernadette Lyons) said he thinks Healey’s politics were a factor.

“Today’s denial by AG Healey confirms the radical left has no problem eliminating medical care for babies born alive,” Lyons said in a written statement. “The attorney general’s failure to put her political views aside constitutes a dereliction of her duty.”

He continued:  “The people of Massachusetts have a right enshrined in the constitution to bring issues to the voters, and the evidence is clear that the attorney general is an extension of NARAL and Planned Parenthood.”

Patricia Stewart, executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, also said she sees the decision as politically motivated.

“The petition sought to guarantee every child born alive the right to life-saving care,” Stewart told NewBostonPost in an email message. “Incredibly, the attorney general considers such a child undeserving of a chance for life. It is her conclusion that defies reasonable understanding, not the language of the petition.”

Supporters of the born-alive protection ballot initiative hoped to restore a part of Massachusetts law eliminated by the ROE Act late last year. The abortion-expansion bill passed despite bipartisan opposition and a veto from the state’s governor, as a result of override vote in the state House of Representatives and state Senate. Healey supported the ROE Act expansion bill last year.

Among other things, the ROE Act bill eliminated previously existing language from Massachusetts law that guaranteed emergency medical care for babies born alive who survive an attempted abortion.

The legislation did so by repealing Section 12P of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 112, which was in effect until late December 2020. It stated:


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.


The proposed ballot initiative used similar language to that section of the now-former statute. 

Here is the language of the proposed born-alive ballot question:


Be it enacted by the People, and by their authority:

Chapter 111 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding section 110D:    

“Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, if a child is born alive, all reasonable steps, in keeping with good medical practice, shall be taken to preserve the life of the child born alive.”


In a letter to Bernadette Lyons posted on, the Attorney General’s office says the rejection “does not reflect any policy views the Attorney General may have on the merits of the proposed law.”

The Attorney General says in the letter that the proposed initiative is not in “proper form for submission to the people” because its “provisions are so ambiguous that it is impossible to determine, or inform potential voters of, the proposed law’s meaning and effect.”

The letter also says “the proposed law does not define ‘a child born alive’ or what is required to ‘preserve the life of a child born alive,’ nor does it specify what ‘reasonable steps’ must be taken or who ‘shall’ take them.”

However, on Wednesday Healey also tweeted in favor of abortion. She criticized the state of Texas after a ban on abortions after the six-week mark in pregnancy went into effect there.

Healey tweeted:  “Texas’ radical new abortion ban forces powerless patients to carry pregnancies, regardless of rape or incest, or have their doctors & families threatened with legal action. We will fight this latest effort to overturn Roe v. Wade & stand up for freedom, privacy, and basic rights.”

Although the Attorney General rejected the born-alive ballot initiative and supports abortion, she has accepted a different pro-life initiative in the past. In 2015, 2017, and 2019, she allowed an initiative to proceed that would have eliminated state-level taxpayer funding of abortion in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. However, the signature collecting efforts fell short in each of those three years.


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