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Massachusetts Officials Speak Out On Roe v. Wade Reversal

Updated: Jun 25, 2022

Massachusetts legislators and sexual reproductive health organization heads spoke in front of the State House after the Supreme court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24.

Photo Credit: Boston Political Review

"Roe is dead," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said. "An extremist Supreme Court has decided that theynot Americawill decide who has access to healthcare."

In a landmark 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court overruled the legal precedent set by Roe v. Wade guaranteeing women the right to an abortion for nearly 50 years, kicking the issue back to the states. Although the decision was expected after a rare leak in May, its release at the end of the week still took many supporters and opponents of abortion rights by surprise. Pro-life and pro-choice advocates demonstrated outside the Supreme Court and around the country following the decision.

Elected officials, though, have been readying for the outcome in recent weeks.

"We've been bracing for this moment and Massachusetts has been ready," Mayor Michelle Wu said, lauding the preparation of legislators and organizations to protect abortion access in the Commonwealth.

Abortion remains legal in Massachusetts and most other states. The ROE Act passed in Massachusetts over a veto in December 2020 to enshrine the right to abortion and expand access to sexual reproductive health across the state. At least 22 states already have laws planning on restricting or outright banning abortion in the coming days, with more who may follow suit.

Soon after the Supreme Court decision, Governor Charlie Baker released an executive order barring any Executive Department agency from cooperating with another state’s investigation into anyone for receiving or delivering reproductive health services that remain legal in Massachusetts. Interstate lawsuits and criminal or civil cases are a major concern for pro-choice advocates who hope the executive order will stop court cases on abortion laws from crossing state lines where laws differ.

Similar legislation could pass in the Massachusetts Legislature before the end of the legislative session on July 31.

The fight on abortion will spill over into the midterms later this year. "We have a laser beam on the ballot in November," said Warren.

"This is an effort to further marginalize and diminish women. It is incredibly distressing to see a Supreme Court that is extremely politicized," said Attorney General Maura Healey, who is the front runner in November's gubernatorial race and could be the first elected lesbian and woman governor of the Commonwealth.

Speakers also committed to further legislative and legal action in the coming weeks and months to support sexual reproductive rights for women in Massachusetts and around the country.

“I’ve spoken to attorney generals around the country about what we can do. Massachusetts must be a helper state to women who need reproductive services and any other resources they need," Healey said.

"Boston is not a place that takes its rights lightly," Wu said. "Here in the birthplace of the revolution, we have always fought for each other. And we're damn good at it."


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