Charlie Baker Picks GOP ROE Act-Supporting Rep For Parole Board

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Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker nominated state Representative James Kelcourse (R-Amesbury) for a seat on the state’s Parole Board on Wednesday.

The move may create another vacancy in the state House of Representatives and could result in the Democratic Party flipping the open seat.

Baker nominated Kelcourse, a defense attorney, and Maryanne Galvin, a forensic psychologist from Plymouth, for two seats on the board that grants and supervises paroles. The Governor’s Council has the power to approve or reject their nominations.

Kelcourse is one of 28 Republicans in the 160-seat body. He is the only Republican who voted in favor of the ROE Act abortion expansion bill in December 2020.

The ROE Act was Budget Amendment 759 to the Massachusetts fiscal year 2021 budget.

Among other things, it expanded the definition of legal abortion in Massachusetts beyond 24 weeks to include cases where “an abortion is warranted because of a lethal fetal anomaly incompatible with sustained life outside the uterus.” Current state law allows for abortion after 24 weeks “to preserve the patient’s physical or mental health.”

The bill also lowered the age of girls needing consent from a parent or a judge to get an abortion from 17 and younger (as the law said at the time) to 15 and younger.

It also eliminated 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 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.


Kelcourse isn’t the only Republican to leave the legislature in recent times. Baker nominated state representative Sheila Harrington (R-Groton) to serve as Gardner District Court clerk magistrate. She resigned from her legislative seat in the First Middlesex District in February; no special election is planned to replace her. Instead, voters are set to decide in the November 2022 general election.

Kelcourse represents Amesbury, Newburyport, and Salisbury in the First Essex District. 


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