Massachusetts Set To Completely Expand Access To Abortion

( Legal abortion is about to be expanded in Massachusetts.

An amendment has passed in both the state’s House and Senate that will be included in the fiscal year 2021 budget, rather than act as separate legislation. It will, in essence, enact parts of the radical ROE Act that Democrats in the state have been pushing for.

The two amendments will allow abortions to be performed for any reason before the gestation period of 24 weeks. After 24 weeks, abortions can still be performed if they are deemed “necessary, in the best medical judgment of the physician, to preserve the patient’s physical or mental health.”

The language included in the amendments is very similar to what was included in the Doe v. Bolton 1973 Supreme Court case. In that case, justices required maternal-health exceptions to all state abortion restrictions. “Maternal health” was defined expansively to include “all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman’s age.”

If the state budget were to be signed off on by the governor, as is expected, Massachusetts would essentially be codifying this loophole in both the Doe and Roe v. Wade cases that permits any abortion as long as one doctor certifies that literally any aspect of a woman’s health could be affected adversely by keeping the baby.

Under the amendments, abortions in Massachusetts don’t have to be performed by a doctor anymore, either. They can be performed by a midwife, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant.

In addition, Massachusetts is seeking to allow minor girls to get abortions without their parents’ consent. In most states, minors must have their parents sign off before a doctor performs an abortion.

Massachusetts, however, has enabled minors to use a procedure called judicial-bypass that would override the parents’ wishes and allow the minor to get an abortion anyway. In the two amendments passed in the state legislature this week, that provision would be removed entirely, giving minors the legal authority to get an abortion without their parents’ consent or a court order.

Massachusetts was actually one of the first states to require minors to receive parental consent before getting an abortion on their own. As Dr. Michael New wrote for the National Review:

“A 1986 study in the American Journal of Public Health found strong statistical evidence that this parental-involvement law reduced the abortion rate among minors in Massachusetts.”

The final portion of Massachusetts’ potential new abortion law would loosen other requirements on physicians. Right now, the physician performing the abortion is required to “take all reasonable steps, both during and subsequent to the abortion, in keeping with good medical practice, consistent with the procedure being used, to preserve the life and health of the aborted child.”

In other words, the physician must try to preserve the life of any child who is born alive after a failed abortion procedure.

If the new measures were signed into law, that will no longer be the case. The physician would just be required to have “life-supporting equipment” in the room. The physician wouldn’t have to actually use it, though, if the abortion procedure fails and the child is born alive.