On July 29, 2022, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law H.5090, An Act Expanding Protections for Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Care, as Chapter 127 of the Acts of 2022. In the wake of the disturbing Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson and the anti-reproductive and anti-gender-affirming health care legislation being passed in states around the country, this law constitutionally preserves and protects reproductive and gender-affirming health care in the Commonwealth. I was honored to be appointed as the lead Senate negotiator for this bill’s conference committee to help craft a final bill, which passed both the Senate and the House on July 26, 2022.
Specifically, An Act expanding protections for reproductive and gender-affirming care:
- Protects health care providers and those seeking reproductive and gender-affirming care in Massachusetts from other states’ overreaching, extraterritorial anti-abortion and anti-gender-affirming care laws;
- Helps ensure that pregnant people who face dire circumstances after 24 weeks of pregnancy are not forced to leave Massachusetts in order to access reproductive health care services, and places the decision-making power to end a late term pregnancy in the hands of the patient and their treating physician, not a hospital’s independent review panel;
- Requires the Group Insurance Commission and commercial health insurance carriers to cover abortions and abortion-related care and ensures Massachusetts patients are not charged a cost-sharing amount (i.e. deductibles, copayments, or similar charges) for such coverage;
- Requires MassHealth to cover prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, abortions and abortion-related care and ensures Massachusetts patients are not charged a cost-sharing amount (i.e., deductibles, copayments, or similar charges) for such coverage;
- Enhances access to contraceptives by directing the Department of Public Health to establish a statewide standing order that authorizes the dispensing of emergency contraception in Massachusetts by any licensed pharmacist and allowing over-the-counter emergency contraception to be sold in a vending machine or similar device;
- Directs public higher education institutions to create a medication abortion readiness plan for its students; and
- Allows individuals engaged in the provision, facilitation or promotion of reproductive and gender-affirming health care to enroll in the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Address Confidentiality Program – this action will increase the safety of those who may face threats or violence outside of the workplace in their personal lives or at their residences.
I’m very grateful to my Senate and House colleagues and the Governor for working so hard to get this passed and signed into law before the end of the legislative session on July 31, 2022. This new law is so important, especially as Massachusetts, our residents, and the country begin to navigate a post-Roe world.
Senate Proposal (S.2996)
Links to Amendment 388 to the Senate budget
Timeline of Events
- Dec. 2020: Roe Act becomes law in Massachusetts with the threat of Roe v. Wade being overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
- May 2, 2022: The U.S. Supreme Court’s draft decision on Dobbs v. Jackson was leaked, containing language that would overturn Roe v. Wade
- May 30, 2022: Amendment 388 to the Senate budget, which I filed, was adopted into the final Senate budget. The Senate acted swiftly to address the concerns of the leaked Dobbs decision.
- June 24, 2022: The U.S. Supreme Court issues a decision on Dobbs v. Jackson, overturning Roe v. Wade.
- June 29, 2022: Massachusetts House passes H.4594, An Act Expanding Protections for Reproductive Rights
- July 11, 2022: I filed S.2996 as the Senate response to the House bill, expanding on my Amendment 388 to the Senate budget.
- July 13, 2022: Senate passed S.2996.
- July 26, 2022: The Senate and the House passed H.5090, the conference committee report creating a final bill from the legislation that passed the House and the Senate.
- July 29, 2022: Governor Baker signed H.5090, An Act expanding protections for reproductive and gender-affirming care into law.