Massachusetts lawmakers override governor’s veto, expand abortion access for minors
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BOSTON, Massachusetts, January 4, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Despite efforts on the part of local pro-life activists, Massachusetts legislators last week overrode a veto of Governor Charlie Baker (R) and enacted a significant expansion of decriminalized abortion access in the state.
With required supermajorities in both legislative chambers, the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted 107 to 46 on Monday, December 28th; and without a statement or any debate, the Senate followed suite the next day with a vote of 32 to 8, effectively overriding the governor’s veto.
According to the Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI), the legislation enshrines the decriminalization of abortion prior to 24 weeks for any reason, while, for all practical purposes, extending abortion access up to the moment of birth.
Massachusetts law had allowed abortion after 24 weeks if the mother’s life is at risk. Under this new provision, that exception is expanded “to preserve the patient’s physical or mental health” — criteria which can be broadly interpreted to make almost any abortion legal.
But, according to MFI, the legislation goes even further and allows “passive infanticide.” Instead of directing abortionists to “take all reasonable steps” to save a child who has survived a botched abortion, the new law “simply requires that there be life-saving equipment present, but doesn’t require that the physician actually USE it.” Thus, MFI has labeled this legislation the “Infanticide Act.”
Further, the new law no longer requires abortions procured prior to 24 weeks to be performed by a physician, but allows non-doctors such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners or nurse midwives to kill preborn babies as well.
Finally, the law lowers parental consent for a minor to obtain an abortion from the age of 18 to 16. MFI considers this a “horrifying” prospect for “any sane parent” and “[f]or those concerned about sex trafficking,” as it “allows abusers to cover their crimes by taking underage girls to a Planned Parenthood clinic themselves and keeping parents out of the picture.”
Even though he is a pro-abortion Republican, Gov. Baker expressed concerns about this latter measure, along with the expansion of access to “later-term abortions” in vetoing the bill and sending it back to the legislature on Christmas Eve.
Speaker of the Massachusetts House Bob DeLeo (D) promised on the same evening that his chamber “will seek to override the Administration’s veto,” in order to expand access to abortion, which they did on Monday, December 28.
Andrew Beckwith, president of MFI, noted the significance of these dates. In response to Baker’s veto, MFI expressed hope that a “Christmas Eve Miracle” would stop the “Infanticide Act.” Following the House override vote, Beckwith observed that December 28th “is also the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the day in the church calendar when we remember the baby boys killed by Herod’s decree.”
Beckwith concludes, “there is a deeper struggle at play here … [t]hese are all moral, spiritual battles with real, and often devastating, consequences.”
Myrna Maloney Flynn, president of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, stated, “Pro-lifers know setbacks. What we don’t know how to do is give up, look the other way, and allow injustice to stand.”
“We know the truth is worth pursuing!” she continued. “We know the lives we work to protect are worth every minute of our time in this life … And we look forward to continuing our work alongside the citizens of Massachusetts, who already know the value of human life and are eager to educate and support others and to ultimately illuminate the inherent right to life of the unborn.”
“As we have done since January 23, 1973, Massachusetts Citizens for Life will work tirelessly to make abortion unthinkable. And we will prevail.”