Charlie Baker Vetoes Anti-Crisis Pregnancy Center Provision of Economic Development Bill

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The Massachusetts legislature wanted to spend $1 million on an anti-crisis pregnancy awareness campaign — and Governor Charlie Baker said no.

Baker signed an economic development bill into law late this week (H.5374), known as “An Act Relating To Economic Growth and Relief for the Commonwealth.” The Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate unanimously passed the bill on Thursday, November 3.

However, Baker issued a line-item veto for a provision that sought to allocate $1 million “for a public awareness campaign to educate providers and the public about so-called crisis pregnancy centers and pregnancy resource centers and their lack of medical services.”

Massachusetts Citizens for Life executive director Patricia Stewart praised those who pushed for the veto in an email message to NewBostonPost.

“Thanks, in part, to the unrelenting, heartfelt pleas of members and pro-life allies of Massachusetts Citizens for Life; the courageous appeal of a small, but determined group of pro-life legislators; and thousands of prayers from countless others, the governor vetoed this heinous attempt to smear and ultimately eradicate Massachusetts’s pregnancy resource centers,” Stewart wrote. “We know this is but a temporary reprieve and that proponents of the death culture will be back to try again. But, we also know that we fight on the side of the angels, and we are undeterred.”

Baker explained in his veto that he felt this funding was a solution in search of a problem. 

“I am striking language that earmarks funding for a program not recommended,” Baker wrote in his veto. “The information required to be published by this earmark is already publicly available from the state. The reduction in the item incorporates the amount of the stricken earmarked funds.”

As Baker notes, the state has already published anti-crisis pregnancy center material. Massachusetts attorney general and governor-elect Maura Healey’s office put out a consumer advisory against crisis pregnancy centers in July.

Healey’s office issued the anti-crisis pregnancy center proclamation on July 6, 2022.

“WARNING: Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) do NOT provide comprehensive reproductive healthcare,” the advisory said. “CPCs are organizations that seek to prevent people from accessing abortion care.”

Less than 24 hours after the attorney general’s office issued this proclamation, two crisis pregnancy centers in Worcester were vandalized. They had windows broken and were the victims of graffiti. And on August 18, a crisis pregnancy center in Easthampton was vandalized with spray paint.

Typically, it takes a two-thirds majority to override the governor’s veto. However, the Massachusetts legislature is technically in informal sessions; formal sessions for the legislature ended on August 1, 2022. Therefore, no bill can pass without unanimous consent and it only takes one vote to kill legislation. 

Baker vetoed the legislation despite supporting legal abortion.

He showed that support for abortion when he signed a bill (H.5090) into law in July that requires health insurance companies to pay the full cost of abortions without any form of cost-sharing. It also expanded the legality of late-term abortions after 24 weeks in 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.”

The governor’s press office could not be reached for comment on Friday.


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