Around New England

Boston Globe Column Claims Abortion Bill Opponents ‘Claim Falsely’ It Would Legalize Infanticide

July 11, 2019

An opinion article by a reporter in The Boston Globe says opponents of the proposed ROE Act abortion expansion bill in Massachusetts “continue to claim falsely that later abortions will lead to fetuses somehow surviving abortion attempts and being left to die in clinics.”

The column, by reporter Stephanie Ebbert, which was published Wednesday, July 10, offers no evidence rebutting the arguments of ROE Act opponents, who cite a provision in the bill that would remove an existing requirement in state law that doctors try to save the life of a baby born alive after an attempted abortion.

Late-term abortions are a major point of conflict with the bill. Abortions after 24 weeks are legal in Massachusetts now, but “only if it is necessary to save the life of the mother, or if a continuation of her pregnancy will impose on her a substantial risk of grave impairment of her physical or mental health” (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 112, Section 12M). The law does not define “mental health.”

Supporters of the ROE Act bill say that women who get a diagnosis of a fatal fetal abnormality late in their pregnancy ought to be able to abort the fetus in Massachusetts rather than give birth to a baby who will die of natural causes shortly afterward anyway. They say that women in Massachusetts in that situation are often referred to a clinic in Colorado that performs late-term abortions.

Some opponents of the ROE Act bill argue that a diagnosis of a fatal condition in a fetus would affect a mother’s mental health and that that therefore such cases are already covered by state law. But supporters of the ROE Act bill say some doctors who perform late-term abortions won’t do so in Massachusetts out of concern that it might be deemed illegal.

Supporters of the ROE Act bill have offered varying responses to arguments their bill would legalize infanticide. Some have argued that no fetuses survive abortions, despite specific cases cited by opponents. Some have argued that infanticide is already illegal and does not need to be mentioned in abortion law.

The column that appeared in the Globe yesterday is primarily about female abortion supporters seeking male legislators to co-sponsor pro-abortion legislation.

Ebbert, according to her online profile on The Boston Globe’s web site, has worked as a reporter for the Globe since 1997.

“In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, she shifted her focus to gender issues, documenting women’s political engagement and tracking their status in society, in politics, and in the workplace,” Ebbert’s profile states.

The column is one of a series she writes called “What She Said,” which the Globe describes as “an occasional column on gender issues.”

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