Around New England

Ballot Question That Would Make It Possible To Stop Public Funding of Abortion in Massachusetts Takes First Step

August 7, 2019

The chairman of a group seeking to ask voters to end a court requirement that public funds pay for abortions in Massachusetts says he has filed papers to put the measure on the November 2022 general election ballot.

Thomas Harvey, chairman of the Massachusetts Alliance To Stop Taxpayer-Funded Abortion, said he filed papers with signatures with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office ahead of the deadline Wednesday, August 7.

“The annihilation of babies in the womb should not be paid for by Massachusetts taxpayers. For good reason, national polls show overwhelming opposition to taxpayer funded abortions. Instead of trying to make abortion quick, cavalier, and free, we as a society owe it to women to help them choose life instead,” Harvey said in a written statement.

The ballot question states:  “Nothing in this Constitution requires the public funding of abortion.”

It would overturn a 1981 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court finding that the state constitution requires the state to pay for abortions for poor women.

The measure would not end public funding of abortion in the state. That would require a subsequent vote by the state Legislature or a subsequent statewide referendum. But it would remove the court-imposed constitutional impediment to ending state funding for abortion.

To get to the ballot, a petition must first clear a review by the state Attorney General’s office to determine that it meets the standards laid out for an initiative petition in the state constitution. That review is supposed to be completed by September 4.

Supporters then have until December 4 to get signatures from at least 80,239 registered voters.