Massachusetts law currently bans abortions after the point of fetal viability, usually considered to be the 24th week of pregnancy. A recently introduced bill would allow doctors to perform abortions up until the baby is born.
The Roe Act (S.1209), a previously introduced bill that stalled in the state legislature, is being brought up again by pro-abortion Democrats. The bill would allow abortions past the point of viability if a doctor determines “the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or physical or mental health.”
This bill uses the same broad mental health language that was used by the U.S. Supreme Court in Doe v. Bolton, a companion case to Roe v. Wade: “[A]ll factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the person’s age—relevant to the well-being of the patient.”
Abortions would also be allowed after the point of viability if the unborn child is deemed “incompatible with sustained life outside the uterus.” These two stipulations would make the current abortion cutoff irrelevant, and allow for unborn children to be aborted up until the point of birth.
In response to this bill, James F. Driscoll, executive director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, stated:
Massachusetts already has a law in place permitting abortions under pretty liberal circumstances…We’re not in favor of the current law … but there is no need to make it [abortion] even more accessible.
The Roe Act would also remove parental consent requirements for minors seeking abortion. Myrna Maloney Flynn, president of the Massachusetts Citizens for Life, spoke to this section of the bill: “If legislators pass the Roe Act, parents would still have to consent to a flu shot for their 12-year-old daughter but not an abortion.”
According to NPR, this bill might not be signed by pro-abortion Republican Governor Charlie Baker. Baker has said that while he supports legalized abortion, he does not support the expansions to current law presented by the Roe Act.
Massachusetts Citizens for Life summarized the situation well: “S.1209 legalizes infanticide, promotes abortion access over women’s health, and removes all protections for human beings in the womb even when viable.”
Photo credit: Matt Kieffer via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0