Immediately following the 2016 Presidential Election, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts with the Coalition for Choice lead advocacy efforts for the ACCESS Bill. The bill, An Act Relative to Advancing Contraceptive Coverage and Economic Security in Our State, ensures that all insurance carriers in Massachusetts provide all FDA-approved contraceptive methods with no copay, including over-the-counter emergency contraception. On November 20, 2017, Governor Charlie Baker signed the ACCESS Bill into law. The law will go into effect on May 20, 2018.
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
In the 2017-2018 legislative session, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts joined dozens of other leading advocacy groups in Massachusetts in advocating for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. This legislation will ensure that pregnant workers are treated fairly on the job, are protected against workplace discrimination, and are given the reasonable workplace accommodations they need and deserve, like water and bathroom breaks. The bill received broad bipartisan support in the Massachusetts Legislature and saw unanimous favorable votes in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Massachusetts Senate. On July 27, 2017, Massachusetts removed a significant barrier to reproductive freedom when Governor Charlie Baker signed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act into Commonwealth law.
Public Accommodations Law
In 2016, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts joined a coalitional effort led by Freedom Massachusetts to guarantee transgender Bay Staters with full and equal protection under Massachusetts law. The bill, An Act Relative to Transgender Anti-Discrimination (S.735), provides critical anti-discrimination protections that ensure that everyone in the Commonwealth can access hospitals, hotels, restaurants, and other public places without facing discrimination on the basis of gender identity. On July 8, Governor Charlie Baker signed the Public Accommodations Bill into law; and it went into effect on October 1st.
Pay Equity Law
In 2016, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts worked with the Massachusetts Equal Pay Coalition to close the income gap for Massachusetts women. This law prohibits employers from asking about previous salaries in the hiring process and ensures that employees cannot be fired for discussing their salaries openly. The law also encourages employers to conduct internal reviews of their payroll to ensure equitable compensation. On August 1, 2016, Governor Charlie Baker signed the Pay Equity Bill into law. The new law will go into effect on July 1, 2018.
In 2013, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts created a coalition with 48 other organizations to rally behind the Anti-Shackling Bill and urged legislators to ban the inhumane practice of shackling pregnant women who are incarcerated. The law requires correctional facilities to provide regular prenatal and postnatal medical care, including health monitoring and evaluation; a diet containing the nutrients necessary to maintain a healthy pregnancy, including prenatal vitamins and supplements; postpartum screening for depression; and written information regarding prenatal nutrition, maintaining a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. Correctional facilities must also provide pregnant and postpartum inmates with appropriate clothing, undergarments and sanitary materials. On May 15, 2014, Governor Deval Patrick signed the Anti-Shackling Bill into law and it went into effect immediately.