BOSTON, Massachusetts, February 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As Democrats in Washington, D.C. bristle at accusations they support elective late-term abortions or infanticide, their counterparts in the Massachusetts legislature are proposing legislation opening the door to both in the state.
They have introduced in the state Senate the Remove Obstacles and Expand Abortion Access (ROE) Act, which declares the “Commonwealth shall not interfere with a person’s personal decision and ability to prevent, commence, terminate, or continue their own pregnancy.” It specifically allows abortion to protect women’s lives, physical health, or “mental health” defined as “all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the person’s age—relevant to the well-being of the patient.”
That’s the same language used in Roe v. Wade’s companion ruling Doe v. Bolton, which pro-lifers argue is vague enough to authorize an abortion for nearly any reason. Late-term abortions would also be allowed in cases of “lethal fetal abnormalities, or where the fetus is incompatible with sustained life outside the uterus.”
The Washington Examiner notes that the bill would also repeal language requiring that abortionists “take all reasonable steps […] to preserve the life and health of the aborted child,” as well as the state’s parental-consent requirement.
Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts vice president Tricia Wajda summarized the bill as “remov[ing] the onerous, shaming, and medically unnecessary restrictions that deny people care in Massachusetts,” and claimed the “right to access safe and legal abortion” is “at the heart of who we are as a Commonwealth.” Others sharply disagreed.
Heritage Foundation researcher Melanie Israel explained to the Examiner that fetal abnormalities “can be anything from something that is going to be a life-limiting condition to the fetus, or based on how loosely these definitions are, it can be something like Down syndrome,” and warned the mental health language was so loose it could mean a “woman is feeling overwhelmed about what the postpartum process is going to be like.”
The bill is “horrifying,” Israel said. “It’s New York and Virginia all over again.”
The ROE Act is part of a broader trend of states on both sides preparing for an assumed reversal of Roe v. Wade in the not-too-distant future. Several liberal states have pushed bills codifying state-level “rights” to abortion and repealing pre-Roe abortion restrictions, while conservative states are pushing measures that would either take effect after Roe or seek to force the Supreme Court to review the 1973 ruling by banning abortion much earlier than viability.
The pro-abortion bill is expected to pass the legislature and be signed into law by liberal Republican Gov. Charlie Baker. Last summer, Baker signed the so-called Negating Archaic Statutes Targeting Young (NASTY) Women Act, which repealed the state’s unenforced, pre-Roe abortion ban.