Baker Signs Bill Expanding Access To Abortion and Sex Transitions In Massachusetts

Printed from:

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a bill that expands access to abortion and sex transitions on Friday.

The bill seeks to end co-payments and other charges for abortion in health insurance plans. It also expands late-term abortions after 24 weeks to include cases that are “warranted because of a grave fetal diagnosis that indicates that the fetus is incompatible with sustained life outside of the uterus without extraordinary medical interventions.”

Supporters are claiming victory in protecting what they call important rights.

“Pregnant people, trans people, and all people must be allowed to make their own health care decisions in consultation with their physician without fear,” Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), president of the Massachusetts Senate, said in a written statement.

Opponents argue that the bill is radical and destructive and that it imposes on religious freedom.

“Virtually every Catholic college and university in the state, most Catholic secondary schools, and at least half of all Catholic charities – institutions which are church affiliated but separately governed with lay boards – will now be forced, against their sincerely held religious beliefs, to fund abortion,” said C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, in a written statement.

Doyle described the bill as “oppressive” and said it invites “a constitutional challenge on First Amendment grounds – the sooner the better.”

Health insurance companies are prevented from offering coverage for these procedures with “any deductible, coinsurances, copayment, or any other cost-sharing requirement.” An exception is made for any plan governed by the federal Internal Revenue Code – referring to plans offered “by an employer that is a church or qualified church-controlled organization.”

But the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts said the religious exemption is too narrowly drawn, saying that the term “qualified church controlled organization” doesn’t apply to many Catholic schools who are “church affiliated” but not “church controlled.”

The bill aims to protect out-of-staters who travel to Massachusetts to receive an abortion or a medical sex transition. It protects any physicians or nurses charged with crimes in other states regarding these procedures, and it prohibits actions related to these procedures committed in other states from being added to their record in Massachusetts if the laws of the Commonwealth legally protect those actions. The bill bans discipline in Massachusetts based on performing these procedures.

Additionally, the bill allows pharmacists to offer emergency contraception without a prescription. It also requires public universities to offer emergency contraception. A fund to be known as the “Public University Health Center Sexual and Reproductive Health Preparation Fund” will be started to help public institutions gain “medication abortion readiness,” which refers to abortion pills.

The measure, which took effect immediately after the governor signed it because of an emergency preamble, also requires state health officials to “promulgate regulations” after consulting with several left-of-center and pro-abortion organizations, including:


  • Jane Doe Inc., which in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade released a statement, saying “even knowing this dreaded day was near does not make it any less shocking. While we are fortunate that the right to abortion is not currently at risk here in Massachusetts, we are no less outraged by the horror unfolding around the country.”


  • GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, Inc.


  • Planned Parenthood 


  • The Maternal Outcomes for Translational Health Equity Research (M.O.T.H.E.R.) Lab, which describes its mission as achieving “a world where all Black women who want to become mothers can efficiently and comfortably receive equitable access to the same high caliber healthcare services as other women without their concerns being dismissed. A world where black women do not face maternal health complications due to racism, homophobia and/or sexism throughout their lives or throughout their pregnancies.”


  • Resilient Sisterhood Project, Inc., which describes its vision as “transforming communities to engage in conversations in regards to diseases of the reproductive system and other reproductive health conditions that disproportionally affect Black women.”



  • Reproductive Equity Now, Inc. — formerly known as the Massachusetts affiliate of the National Abortion Rights Action League (or NARAL)


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.