Abortion lobby moves to repeal Massachusetts’ century-old abortion ban, unenforced since Roe
BOSTON, July 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As speculation about the next Supreme Court justice runs rampant, the abortion lobby is taking steps to keep abortion-on-demand legal regardless of whether he or she votes to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Pro-abortion lawmakers in Massachusetts are working to repeal the state’s century-old abortion ban, which has remained on the books yet has gone unenforced since Roe, the Boston Globe reports. The NARAL-backed bill would also repeal old contraception laws that are also unenforced due to judicial precedent.
The Negating Archaic Statutes Targeting Young (NASTY) Women Act, named after a campaign trail insult President Donald Trump leveled at his Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton which feminists embraced as a rallying cry, passed the state Senate 38-0 in January, and is now before the Democrat-controlled state House.
“We think it’s a real issue. We fear some prosecutor might see it or use it. And then we’ve got this period where a woman or a doctor could go to jail,” NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts executive director Rebecca Hart Holder said. “We want to remove any ambiguity and latent danger from the Massachusetts General Laws to ensure that women have unfettered access to abortion care when and if they need it.”
Concern over Roe’s future has heightened ever since Trump’s election, and intensified when Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement announcement last week gave Trump the opportunity to nominate a second Supreme Court justice. He reportedly plans to announce his choice on Monday evening.
Pro-lifers are hopeful they will be able to pass laws directly banning abortion, while abortion advocates are angry they may no longer be able to cite Roe to strike down pro-life state laws.
Repealing Roe would not directly ban abortion nationwide, but rather restore the right of individual states to decide abortion’s legality for themselves. Abortion would automatically become illegal, however, in the ten states whose pre-Roe abortion bans remain on the books, or the four states that have passed newer laws that will automatically take effect upon Roe’s overturn.
Pro-life advocates say the NASTY Women Act is just partisan play-acting, noting that a 1981 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found a “right” to taxpayer-subsidized abortion in the state Constitution, regardless of Roe. The “proposal is more about agitprop, fund-raising, and posturing than lawmaking,” CJ Doyle of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts told the Globe.
That ruling makes the act “something of a sideshow,” Massachusetts Citizens for Life board chairman David Franks added. But instead of fighting the bill, he said his group would “continue conducting our educational activities to make the case to the people of the Commonwealth that we believe the [state] Constitution of John Adams is suffused with the same principles as the Declaration of Independence, that every human life has real dignity.”
A spokeswoman for Democrat House Speaker Robert DeLeo said that he “shares [the] concerns” of the abortion lobby, and that he will be meeting NARAL about the bill. House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano indicated his support, though pro-abortion Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has yet to take a position.
Americans United for Life ranks Massachusetts as one of the ten most pro-abortion states in America. The House has until the close of its current session at the end of July to vote on the legislation.