Massachusetts governor signs repeal of pre-Roe abortion ban, abortion activists ecstatic
BOSTON, July 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – On Friday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law repealing the state’s unenforced bans on abortion and contraception that predate the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision.
“Today, we formally repeal a number of antiquated laws, some of which could lead to denying young women reproductive health care,” announced Baker, a pro-abortion Republican. “These laws do not represent Massachusetts’ leadership on these issues or the shared goal of protecting women's access to health care.”
The Negating Archaic Statutes Targeting Young (NASTY) Women Act is meant to ensure that abortion remains legal in Massachusetts even if a more conservative Supreme Court repeals Roe in the near future. It passed the state Senate unanimously in January, and the state House of Representatives 136-9 earlier this month.
The bill was named after an insult President Donald Trump leveled at his Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election campaign, which feminists embraced as a rallying cry.
The signing took place at a ceremony as Democrat supporters of the legislation and pro-abortion activists looked on approvingly, local ABC affiliate WCVB reports. NARAL was delighted by the news, issuing a press release in which the group’s president Ilyse Hogue claimed it the victory is “indicative of what’s going on around the country.”
“We are excited to have it passed and signed by the Governor, and are proud that Massachusetts can be an example of how a state can take steps to protect reproductive freedom as it is under dire threat with Trump’s Supreme Court nominee,” added Rebecca Hart Holder, executive director of NARAL’s Massachusetts branch.
Pro-life activists argue the bill is merely political theater, however, citing a 1981 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that found a “right” to taxpayer-subsidized abortion in the state Constitution, regardless of Roe. Further, as Massachusetts is one of the most left-wing states in America, it was never likely to ban abortion and its pro-abortion moves are far from indicative of a national trend.
“None of these laws have been enforced. Some of them – since long before Roe v Wade – were not being enforced, and they were all in the criminal law, whereas the laws that we pass now – pro-life laws – are civil,” Massachusetts Citizens for Life President Anne Fox told OneNewsNow. “Obviously [overturning Roe is] part of their talking points. They're all saying the same thing, but it raises money for them – it chins up their supporters, so they do it.”
Citing the 1981 ruling, Fox suggested that pro-lifers in the state never expected to end abortion via the pre-Roe laws anyway, and were instead exploring options to enact a state constitutional amendment.
Massachusetts is one of ten states that (until now) never bothered to repeal their abortion laws after the Supreme Court rendered them unenforceable. Another four states have passed newer laws that will automatically ban abortion upon Roe’s fall, and in all the rest the issue will be left to voters to decide for themselves. Congress could pass a national abortion ban as well, citing its authority under the Fourteenth Amendment.
But while local pro-lifers may be skeptical of the NASTY Woman Act’s ramifications, pro-abortion activists are hard at work in other states to insulate abortion-on-demand from a hypothetical case overturning Roe. New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for codifying Roe’s requirements in state law, and pro-life activist Rebecca Kiessling warns that pro-abortion groups in states like Iowa, North Dakota, and Minnesota are filing lawsuits claiming a “right” to abortion rooted in state constitutions rather than Roe.
Last week, NARAL launched a campaign attempting to get U.S. House members and candidates to commit to federal legislation forcing states to accept abortion-on-demand, something already endorsed by the current Democratic Party platform.