BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill that would offer additional abortion protections.
22News is working for you to explain what is in the bill after speaking with lawmakers.
For such a controversial topic, this bill passed unanimously in the Senate yesterday. The bill offers added protections for reproductive and gender-affirming care in the Commonwealth. The right to abortion access in Massachusetts was codified by the ROE Act in 2020, but the Massachusetts legislature felt in the wake of the Supreme Court decision overturning ROE nationally, added protections were needed.
Many provisions in the bill mirror the Governor’s Executive order and the bill the House passed at the end of June. The bill would require health insurers to cover abortions, create a standing order allowing pharmacists to dispense emergency contraceptives, and allow providers to make their home addresses private.
Both branches have approved language to protect patients and providers from out-of-state legal action if they receive legally protected care here in Massachusetts.
A working group was also formed to examine reproductive rights and other rights that could be under threat from the Supreme Court. Senator Jo Comerford was asked to help lead that initiative. She talked about the need for equity.
“We know that poor women, women of color, women from immigrant communities, there are still too many barriers to the whole spectrum of reproductive healthcare and you know, it’s our job as a senate to look at that,” said Jo Comerford of Amherst.
Legislators now can either resolve the differences between the House and Senate Bill informally or appoint a conference committee.
Lawmakers would need to act fast to make sure the legislation would survive a possible veto by Governor Baker. The formal session ends on July 31st.