EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Easthampton City Council did not override the mayor’s veto on a reproductive and gender-affirming care ordinance.

Wednesday night’s public hearing followed Mayor Nicole LaChapelle’s veto of the ordinance, after it passed the council on July 5th.

It aims to protect people with reproductive care from being reported to other states, and let’s the city’s Health Department inform residents on how to file complaints. “This is not viewpoint bias because if you read the ordinance closely you’ll see that this anybody seeking reproductive care, and as a father of a daughter it’s really important to make sure the young people in our community have accurate information,” expressed Salem Derby, Ordinance Chair.

Despite the ordinance’s legal merits, the mayor said it wouldn’t strengthen individual rights beyond what exists in state law, and could face legal challenges and cost the city a lot of money. Those concerns were addressed by councilors, “we did receive a letter from the lawyering project, stating they are offering Lawering projects services in the event the city or any of its officers or agents are named as defendants,” said Brad Riley, Easthampton City Council Member At-Large. “I feel more than confident that we have cornered all of these potentially legal and financial risks.”

Overriding the mayor’s veto requires two-thirds of the council, or six yes votes, and only 5 councilors voted yes. This decision leaves reproductive equity organizations such as Reproductive Equity Now Foundation to address what comes next. 

“We are determined to keep fighting to ensure every person across our Commonwealth has access to accurate, unbiased information on how they can obtain reproductive health care services. This type of information and education cannot wait,” said Rebecca Hart Holder, President of Reproductive Equity Now. “Every day, anti-abortion centers are manipulating and harming people who are simply seeking legitimate health care and full options counseling. These facilities are continuing to ramp up their presence in protected states like Massachusetts, and our work continues to blunt their dangerous impact.”

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Kayleigh Thomas is a digital reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Kayleigh on X @kayleighcthomas and view her bio to see more of her work.