Abortion, Gender Care Providers and Out of State Patient Protection Clear Committee

State lawmakers announced their plan to expand protections for reproductive and gender-affirming care has been cleared by committee and will go to both chambers for final submission to Gov. Charlie Baker.

“We are proud to announce that the Conference Committee on Reproductive Rights has reached agreement on legislation providing legal protections for abortion providers, out-of-state patients and insurers; expands access to contraception,” Ron Mariano, Speaker of the House, President of the Senate. Karen Spilka said in a joint press release with the committee chairs on Monday.

The bill also includes language to address late-term abortions “and helps ensure that women who face difficult circumstances after 24 weeks of pregnancy do not have to leave Massachusetts to access reproductive health services,” the lawmaker said.

The move to expand protections for healthcare providers and patients and remove some barriers when a medical procedure at the end of a pregnancy is ordered by a doctor follows the US Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn constitutional protections for abortion, granted by the 1973 decision Roe v. calf.

“Following the Supreme Court’s decision to ignore and overturn nearly 50 years of court precedent Roe v. calfand as states across the country continue to restrict access to abortion, Massachusetts will continue to serve as a national leader and protect reproductive rights,” lawmakers said.

The bill also protects those seeking or seeking gender affirmation.

Lawmakers must now approve the two versions of the bill, which leaders have said they will do immediately.

Whether Baker will sign the law is anyone’s guess.

In his own words, he runs a pro-choice administration.

He also vetoed the Roe Act when it was presented to him in 2020, which expanded abortion protections in Massachusetts in anticipation of the Supreme Court decision.

The legislature passed this law despite Baker’s veto and despite the fact that he offered them alternative wording for the law that would have allayed their concerns about late-stage abortion and abortion treatment for minors without parental notification.

The new rule contains language that the governor could again find offensive, but also reflects the protections Baker offered via executive order in response to Roe’s reversal.

A spokesman for Baker’s office said the governor will make a decision on the law as soon as he sees it.

“I hope that we can support this because obviously this is important to a lot of people here in Massachusetts,” Baker told reporters Monday.

This time any veto would stand.

The lawmakers’ window to get the bill to the governor’s desk while being given a chance to hand it over his objections expired last Thursday.

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