State House and Senate take swift action to protect healthcare of 75,000 Bay Staters, and vote to end harmful Cap on Kids rule

Boston MA — This week, the State House of Representatives and State Senate passed two bills key to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom in the Commonwealth.

The first, a supplemental budget bill allocating $8 million in state funds for family planning clinics across Massachusetts. The State Legislature acted quickly following the Trump-Pence administration’s changes to federal Title X funding. The change, referred to at the domestic gag rule, would prohibit healthcare providers who receive the federal funds from performing, referring for, or even discussing abortion care with their patients.

The second, a bill ending a harmful rule that denies welfare benefits to children conceived while or soon after the family receives state assistance. The rule, known as the Cap on Kids or the Family Cap, means the State of Massachusetts currently denies state assistance to 8,700 children.

In response, Rebecca Hart Holder, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts released the following statement:

Both of these bills are crucial to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom in Massachusetts, and it is heartening to see our state legislature taking action. At a time when states across the country are decimating reproductive freedom, Massachusetts is holding the line.

The domestic gag rule is only the latest of the Trump-Pence administrations attacks on reproductive freedom. The Massachusetts Legislature understood the need to act quickly and ensure that the 75,000 Bay Staters who rely on the comprehensive healthcare provided at these clinics can continue to get that care. I am grateful to Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Spilka, as well as Chairman Michlewitz and Representative Rodriguez for their leadership and swift action.

The Cap on Kids is a relic of racist, sexist welfare reform policies of the 1990s, and its removal is long overdue. For decades, it has punished the most vulnerable families and children in Massachusetts. It impedes the reproductive freedom of those on state assistance and penalizes them for having the families they want. I am grateful to Senate President Spilka and Speaker DeLeo, as well as Senator DiDomenico and Representative Decker for their continued leadership in the fight to end this rule.

We strongly urge Governor Baker to sign both bills.

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