Today, the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary holds a public hearing on five bills concerning abortion access in Massachusetts. Two of the bills—H.3649 (An Act to Ensure Teen Safety) and H.893 (An Act to Improve the Safety of Young Women), would expand access to abortion care in Massachusetts. The other three—H.2288, H.3119, and H.936—would restrict access to abortion care. In response, Rebecca Hart Holder, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, released the following statement:
“Today, Massachusetts faces an opportunity to eradicate one of the biggest barriers to abortion access in our Commonwealth by either minimizing or completely removing the requirement that people under 18 must receive the consent of their parents or complete a difficult judicial bypass process before accessing abortion care. H.3649 and H.893 will both keep young people in our Commonwealth safe by reducing the harmful effects of our current parental notification laws.
“Research shows that most young women do turn to their parents when considering an abortion. But the reality is that not all teenagers can safely involve their parents in the decision to have an abortion. For instance, a teenager in the Commonwealth may risk violence or homelessness by telling her parents she needs an abortion. In situations like these, parental consent laws are a serious and dangerous barrier to safe abortion care.
“But don’t take my word for it – listen to Bay Staters like Abbie, who will share her story with the Judiciary Committee at today’s hearing about her experience needing to access abortion care as a teenager:
‘I was a senior in high school when I found out I was pregnant. This was a month after I had gotten out of an unhealthy relationship, and I didn’t have a good relationship with my parents so I couldn’t let them know, let alone turn to them for help. So, I made the decision to terminate my pregnancy. However, I wasn’t 18 yet, so my only option was to wait – 3 weeks to be exact – until I turned 18 and could get an abortion. Terminating my pregnancy provided me with the opportunity to get an education, travel, and give back to my community.’
“At today’s hearing, the Judiciary Committee will also hear the preposterous anti-choice claim that H.2288, H.3119, and H.936, which would each impose onerous, medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion access, are bills that will keep women safe. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Each of these three bills would force providers and patients to jump through medically unnecessary hoops that make abortion care harder to access. In fact, the three anti-choice bills before the Judiciary Committee today are right in line with the dangerous anti-choice agenda of President Trump and his cronies – an agenda to drag Massachusetts backward, overturn Roe v. Wade, and eradicate the constitutional right to safe, legal abortion.
“Today more than ever, Massachusetts must reject Trump’s agenda and lead the way forward on reproductive freedom by making sure young people in the Commonwealth can access safe abortion care, no matter what. For this reason, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts strongly urges the Judiciary Committee to report H.3649 and H.893 favorably out of committee, and not to advance H.2288, H.3119, and H.936.”