Seven Things Massachusetts Should Do To Reduce Abortion

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The federal Supreme Court’s overturning Roe v. Wade sadly didn’t eradicate abortion in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 1981 invented the right to abortion under the Massachusetts Constitution. The court ruled that the Declaration of Rights in the state constitution “affords a greater degree of protection to a woman’s right to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy by abortion than does the Federal Constitution …” (The case is called Moe v. Secretary of Administration and Finance.)

The state court decision also required that abortion be publicly funded if the state also provides publicly funded services for childbirth. The decision overturned the state legislature’s 1979 Doyle-Flynn Amendment, which for a while prohibited the state government from paying for abortions.

Not only that, but our virtue-signaling politicians will push to liberalize abortion law even more, even though many states are global outliers on abortion; the United States is one of seven countries that allows elective abortion after 20 weeks. (The gestational limit in Massachusetts is 24 weeks.)

We know that there were 16,452 abortions in Massachusetts in 2020. (A state agency told NewBostonPost early this month that the 2021 abortion data was not yet available.)

That was 16,452 abortions too many. Given that abortion kills a human being, this is incredibly tragic. That said, here are some thoughts on what to do to make abortion less common in Massachusetts. 

Unfortunately, no bill that directly restricts abortion access has any chance of even coming up for a vote in the Massachusetts legislature, let alone passing. Even previous born-alive protections were stripped by the ROE Act because they de facto require later-term abortions to take place in hospitals rather than in seedy abortion clinics.

Therefore, reducing abortion in Massachusetts requires a little more creativity.

A few pieces of non-controversial existing legislation could be small steps to address the problem.


1.  Help People Adopt

State Representative Michael Soter (R-Bellingham) has a bill called “An Act To Promote Adoption” (H.3067) that has bipartisan support in the legislature; its co-sponsors include 12 Republicans and 10 Democrats. The bill received a favorable report from the House Ways and Means Committee on April 7, 2022, but no further action has been taken. 

“An refundable adoption tax credit of $2,500 per adopted child from foster care and or an refundable adoption tax credit of $2,000 per adopted child from a private and or public adoption agency in a calendar year shall be allowed to one adoptive parent against any taxes due pursuant to this chapter,” a major provision of the bill reads. (The two uses of the word “an” appear to be typos.) 

Adoption is a better alternative to abortion. Therefore, supporting adoption and making adoption more affordable is a good pro-life policy.


2.  Cut Rapists Out of the Picture

Speaking of uncontroversial, one small provision that could help the pro-life cause passed unanimously in the Massachusetts Senate a few years back, but never became law. 

Eliminating parental custody and visitation rights for rapists is another way the Bay State could incentivize women to choose life.

Rape and incest cases only make up around one percent of abortions; but every abortion is a tragedy. Thankfully, state Representative Alyson Sullivan (R-Abington) filed “An Act Relative To Parental Visitation and Custody For Children of Rape Victims: (H.1880). The bill says this:


No court shall make an order providing visitation rights to a parent who was convicted of rape, under sections 22 to 23B, inclusive, of chapter 265 or sections 2, 3, 4 or 17 of chapter 272, and is seeking to obtain visitation with the child who was conceived during the commission of that rape, unless a visitation or custody action is filed or initiated by the child conceived of that rape who: (i) has then reached the age of 18 or (ii) is adjudicated as emancipated from the other parent of the child. 


Under the proposal, the rapist would still be responsible for child support.

If a woman doesn’t have to have her rapist in her life and in her child’s life, she might be less likely to abort. A rapist doesn’t belong near children; why should we give him visitation rights?

Sullivan’s bill was sent to a study committee this session, effectively killing the bill. However, this was the first time she filed it and it’s something that should muster support from people on both sides of the aisle.


3.  Show Children What A Fetus Really Is

And while this bill probably won’t go anywhere, state representative Joseph McKenna (R-Webster) has a really good idea that towns should enact.

McKenna’s bill “An Act Relative To Instruction in Pregnancy and Pre-and Postnatal Care” (H.662) would instruct public schools to teach fetal development somewhere between Grades 7 to 9 (with an opt-out available for parents who don’t approve).

“Said curriculum shall (1) educate students of the anatomical and physiological characteristics of unborn children at increments of four weeks from fertilization to full term, (2) include visual images, including ultrasound images of fetal development at eight, twelve, eighteen, and twenty-four weeks, and (3) include the basics of prenatal and postnatal care for the purpose of educating students about the real expectations and responsibilities of parenthood,” the bill reads.

The public deserves to know the truth:  that a human life is a human life from the moment of conception. There’s no better way to demonstrate that fact than to show people what a fetus is — with pictures.

It’s hard to imagine the Massachusetts legislature passing such a bill, but could individual school districts implement such a curriculum?

Yes, they could. What possible educational objection could be raised to showing accurate pictures and providing accurate information about a stage of human development that each student has already gone through?

And while they’re at it, they can eliminate sex-ed curricula from pro-abortion organizations like Planned Parenthood and Advocates for Youth.


Those are some of the existing ideas in the state legislature. Now here are some of my ideas.


4.  Eliminate Forced Abortions In Surrogacy Cases

Surrogacy is legal in Massachusetts. Let’s ignore for the moment the many problems surrogacy causes because the principle of surrogacy has been upheld by various court rulings in Massachusetts, including Hodas v. Morin (2004); Culliton v. Beth Israel Deaconess Med. Ctr. (2002); and R.R. v. M.H. (1998).

Instead, let’s pinpoint one problem specific to commercial surrogacy contracts:  selective reduction clauses. 

For those who aren’t familiar with it, selective reduction is a fancy word for abortion. Specifically, it refers to abortion in cases where the woman is pregnant with twins, triplets, quadruplets, or more.

Selective reduction is when the woman aborts some but not all of the children.

So what does this have to do with surrogacy?

Surrogacy contracts may compel women to abort the extra children because the people paying the surrogate mother only want, say, one child from the pregnancy. Therefore, to complete the contract and to receive the money, the woman must abort the excess children.

Children aren’t some commodity that should live or die just because one or two people out of nearly eight billion on this earth don’t want them. That’s sort of the whole idea behind the pro-life movement.

However, this scenario goes beyond elective abortion. This scenario goes into coerced abortion territory. And given that the supposedly “pro-choice” side loves to talk about so-called reproductive freedom, eliminating these compelled abortion clauses from contracts is something they should (in theory) support just as much as the pro-life movement.

It also deals with sex-selective abortion. If there are triplets — two boys and one girl — which one should they abort? 

Someone in the Massachusetts legislature should fill a bill like this and see if it can go anywhere. And if not, maybe it could go to a statewide ballot.

Do you think voters will support forcing someone to have an abortion?


5.  Make Raising Kids Cheaper

It should be made more affordable to raise a child in Massachusetts.

A state-level child tax credit could earn bipartisan support. Massachusetts does not yet have one, but perhaps it should.

At the federal level, expanding the federal child tax credit has bipartisan support. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) is a big advocate of it, as is U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), among others. So why couldn’t Massachusetts have a credit worth $500 or $1,000 per year?

We may see fewer abortions in the Commonwealth if it were more affordable to raise children — and letting a couple or a single mom keep more of their paycheck could help alleviate that problem.


6.  Make Child Support Begin Earlier

Child support should start when life begins:  conception, not birth. Utah enacted prenatal child support last year. The logic behind it:  the money will help women endure the costs associated with pregnancy.

Not to mention, it’s a subtle recognition of when life really begins — which is not at birth, but long before that.


7.  Bring It To The People

The ballot box needs to be a friend of the pro-life movement.

It’s clear that most Massachusetts voters support abortion in most cases. That’s sad, but true.  We shouldn’t give up on them. Change is possible. But it’s a fact, at least for the time being.

Even so, most Massachusetts voters are not as committed to extreme anti-life ideology as most Massachusetts legislators are.  Voters should be given a chance to show life-friendly tendencies wherever possible.

Massachusetts voters delivered a big win for the pro-life movement in 2012 when they rejected the legalization of physician-assisted suicide 51 percent to 49 percent. Why not let the people decide on some policy that could help the pro-life cause?

If the legislature won’t pass some of the aforementioned policies, perhaps the voters would at the ballot box.

The born-alive protection ballot initiative that members of the Massachusetts Republican Party pushed for last year was a good idea. However, they were trying to juggle three different ballot questions at once and came up short on all of them as a result. Given that born-alive protections have support from 77 percent of the American public, according to a February 2019 Susan B. Anthony poll, that kind of question may succeed in Massachusetts despite the vast resources available to the pro-abortion side.

And here’s one other idea for a ballot initiative:  let Catholic Charities do adoption services in Massachusetts. The state won’t let them because they won’t let homosexual couples adopt, but hear us out on this one. It doesn’t help children to not let Catholic Charities in this business. It also has no impact on homosexual couples. They could still adopt from everyone else. 

Surely, other ideas exist, but this is a start. Massachusetts can take some pro-life actions, even if it won’t outlaw abortion anytime soon. 


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