BOSTON – Today, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a sweeping abortion access bill into law that takes several steps to protect reproductive health and gender-affirming care providers and make abortion and other sexual and reproductive health care, including emergency contraception, more affordable and accessible across the Commonwealth. This law codifies protections in an executive order that Governor Baker issued the day that Roe v. Wade was overturned to shield abortion providers from hostile investigations, litigation, or harm to their professional standing when they provide care that is lawful in Massachusetts.
“This is a huge victory for patients and providers, who deserve the ability to seek, access, or deliver reproductive health care without fear or shame. With this law, Massachusetts unequivocally affirms that abortion is health care, and that zip code, income, or identity should not be a barrier to care,” said Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. “I am so proud that in the face of the Supreme Court’s unprecedented assault on reproductive freedom, Massachusetts is setting a national example for expanding abortion access and valuing the providers who work hard every day to deliver care, save lives, and help people control their own futures."
“As much of the nation is reeling from the sudden loss of abortion access, Massachusetts will remain a beacon of reproductive freedom and a safe place to access care,” said Dr. Luu Ireland, MD, MPH, FACOG. “Abortion care is a crucial component of providing a full spectrum of pregnancy care. Abortion bans in other states are not just hurting patients but also the providers who are being denied the ability to deliver the best care to their patients as well as restricting crucial training for the next generation of OBGYNs. I am grateful that in Massachusetts, we have a legislature that has been proactive in protecting abortion access, health care providers, and all patients.”
“Abortion bans and threats of criminal or civil litigation have forced doctors in other states to forgo providing normal, essential, and even life-saving abortion care to their patients,” said Dr. Megan L. Evans, MD, MPH, OB/GYN. “As OBGYNs, we are committed to doing everything we can to lessen the blow of the Dobbs decision and honor the decisions of pregnant people who seek care in Massachusetts. The comprehensive protections signed into law today to protect Massachusetts providers are essential to our ability to deliver the care our patients deserve.”
Dr. Luu Ireland is an OBGYN and Complex Family Planning Specialist at UMass Memorial Medical Center and the legislative chair of MA Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She has been an abortion provider at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts since 2015. She is also a board member of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts.
Dr. Megan L. Evans is an OB/GYN and abortion provider at Tufts Medical Center and Assistant Professor Ob/Gyn at Tufts University School of Medicine. She is a board member of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts.
The law Governor Baker signed today includes:
- Measures to do everything within the state’s power to protect providers of reproductive health care and gender-affirming care from hostile investigations, litigation, and harm to their professional standing when they provide care that is lawful in the Commonwealth;
- A requirement that insurance cover abortion and abortion-related care. The bill also ensures coverage is affordable — and not subject to cost sharing — for low-income individuals;
- A requirement that Massachusetts public colleges and universities provide medication abortion at campus health centers;
- A statewide standing order for both prescription and over-the-counter emergency contraception, making no-cost insurance coverage possible for all forms of emergency contraception without delay, and a statutory fix to ensure over-the-counter emergency contraception can be sold in vending machines;
- A confidential address program for reproductive health care and gender-affirming care providers who too often face threats and violence for providing health care; and
- Language to clarify the ROE Act so that no one is forced to leave Massachusetts for abortion care later in pregnancy.