I Support Amendment #180 (the “ROE Act”) in the FY21 Senate Budget—Here’s why.

I firmly believe that everyone should be in control of their own bodies – and this includes women and their healthcare decisions. I have been a strong supporter of S.1209, the “ROE Act,” and have voiced my support in the past. I am proud to have voted YES in support of Amendment #180 in the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY) Senate Budget, which, similarly to the ROE Act, improves access to abortions in Massachusetts.

Specifically, Amendment #180 would:

  • Codify the right to abortion care in law;
  • Enable families to obtain abortion care later in pregnancy in cases of lethal fetal diagnosis;
  • Enable 16- and 17-year-olds to make their own decisions about abortion care without having to go before a judge;
  • Eliminate criminal provisions that specifically target abortion, including mandatory minimum sentencing; and
  • Protect current access to abortion care by ensuring that medical providers who provide abortion care today can continue providing such care.

Abortion care should be safe, legal, and accessible to all Massachusetts residents and Amendment 180 contains essential provisions that will dismantle barriers to care and improve access to reproductive health care for pregnant people across the state. Politically motivated barriers to abortion care undermine our ability to control our personal health care decisions, as well as our lives, bodies, and futures. Further, these barriers disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color and interfere with a physician’s ability to provide the very best care possible to their patients.

Almost 48 years ago, the US Supreme Court ruled that abortion is a constitutional right under Roe v. Wade – granting women the freedom to take control of their own reproductive health care. The recent confirmation of anti-choice Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court places that constitutional right under threat. As such, Amendment #180 and the codification of the right to privacy in Massachusetts law is an important affirmation of the state’s commitment to safe and legal abortions and reproductive freedom. Not only does it preserve strong abortion care rights in our state – regardless of the attacks on that right at the federal level – but it also serves as a statement to the nation and to other states about the importance of deciding if, when, and how to become a parent.

The pending US Supreme Court abortion cases also make it essential that the state legislature act swiftly, even if it’s through the state budget process. Some have criticized us for this decision, but I stand by it completely – action is required and voting to include Amendment #180 in the Senate Budget is nothing more than putting patients’ well-being first.

While I recognize that some of you may disagree with my position on this issue, I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to weigh in by phone, email or in-person.