Massachusetts Bill Would Increase Supply of Late-Term Abortion Providers and Restrict Crisis Pregnancy Centers

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A pair of Massachusetts Democratic state legislators are trying increase access to late-term abortion and restrict pro-life crisis pregnancy centers.

State Representative Sally Kerans (D-Dedham) and State Senator Becca Rausch (D-Needham) filed a bill called “An Act Enhancing Access To Abortion Care” (HD.3434/SD.1854) that would change the state’s abortion laws in several ways.

If passed, the bill would be the first law in Massachusetts to eliminate the conscientious objection rights of medical professionals who oppose abortion. 

“No conscientious objection shall be valid if an abortion is required to preserve the life of a pregnant person and no medical staff other than the objector are available to perform or support the performance of the abortion,” the bill says it would add to Section 12I of Chapter 112 of Massachusetts General Law.

Additionally, it would remove a requirement from state law that requires abortions to be performed in facilities that have life-supporting equipment to preserve the life and health “of a live birth and the patient” for abortions occurring after 24 weeks of pregnancy. 

“Section 12O of said chapter 112, as so appearing, is hereby repealed,” the bill states.

Here is what Section 12O of Chapter 112 of Massachusetts General Law says:


Section 12O. If an abortion is performed pursuant to section 12N, the facility where the abortion is performed shall maintain life-supporting equipment, as defined by the department of public health, to enable the physician performing the abortion to take appropriate steps, in keeping with good medical practice and consistent with the procedure being used, to preserve the life and health of a live birth and the patient.


For reference, 12N is the section that outlines the circumstances where the state allows abortions after 24 weeks.

In addition, the bill would allow nurse midwives and physician assistants to perform abortions after 24 weeks by amending Section 12M; the current law allows only physicians to provide these abortions.

Also, the bill would order the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to wage a “public education campaign” against pro-life crisis pregnancy centers:


(b) The department of public health shall engage in a culturally competent and linguistically diverse public education campaign to educate providers and the public about so-called crisis pregnancy centers and pregnancy resource centers, including without limitation the lack of medical services or licensed medical professionals at said centers and the availability of licensed medical and family planning services across the commonwealth.


And it would limit the ability of crisis pregnancy centers to provide women with ultrasounds, which many provide free of charge.

Here is the provision of the bill:


Section 12R.3. A person may not provide ultrasound services pertaining to a possible or actual pregnancy except under the supervision of a provider or other licensed health care professional who, acting within their scope of practice, provides medical care for people who are pregnant or may become pregnant.


Massachusetts Citizens for Life executive director Patricia Stewart castigated the bill, calling it “evil” in an email message to New Boston Post.

“In this bill, Senator Rausch continues to earn her ‘A’ rating with Progressive Massachusetts with an ‘A’ for denying pro-life physicians the right to assert conscientious objection to certain abortions; ‘A’ for removing the requirement for abortion facilities to provide equipment to save the life of mother and a baby who survives an abortion; ‘A’ for sanctioning unqualified midwives to perform highest-risk abortions at 24 or more weeks of pregnancy; and ‘A’ for attempting to destroy with false claims the abortion industry’s greatest financial threat:  the life-saving competition of pregnancy resource centers. For this and more, the bill deserves an ‘A’ for Absolute Evil.”

Rausch and Kerans could not be reached for comment on Monday or Tuesday this week.


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