A ban on “illegally procuring a miscarriage.” A ban on unmarried people accessing contraception. A ban on distributing information about how to access contraception or abortion care. A law which would punish pharmacists, doctors, and other healthcare providers for distributing contraception or performing abortion.
This must be an excerpt from “The Handmaid’s Tale,” right? In fact, these are all laws that are still in the Massachusetts General Laws. They were passed during a long period in history when women had little to no economic freedom or mobility, and their husbands held all decision-making power, including the choice to have children. Thankfully, each of these statutes has been struck down since that time, but leaving these archaic, unconstitutional statutes on the books in the Trump era means that the right to abortion access in Massachusetts is vulnerable if Roe v. Wade falls.
These and many other outdated laws remain on the books even though they haven’t been legally enforced in decades. Two nearly identical bills, S. 2260, An Act negating archaic statutes targeting young women, filed by Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler, and H954, An Act updating the laws to protect women’s health, filed by Representatives Byron Rushing and Michael Day would remove several of these antiquated statutes from the Massachusetts General Laws. For example, S. 2260 would strike the word “married” each time it appears in the laws in conjunction with contraception access, ensuring that all can get the contraception they need. It would remove statutes criminalizing contraception that the recently-passed ACCESS bill protects and guarantees. And most importantly, this bill would ensure that regardless of what happens federally, Massachusetts will remain a firewall of reproductive freedom, where those who need safe abortion care can always get it.
Learn more about S. 2260 here.