The Massachusetts legislature overrode a veto by the state’s Republican governor to enact a law that lowers the age teen girls are allowed to get abortions without parental consent to 16.
Republic Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed the legislation, dubbed the ROE Act and meant to codify in law the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v Wade, on Christmas Eve over the drop in the age requirement. The House and Senate overrode Baker’s veto on Tuesday in a win for state Democrats, according to Fox News.
The pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List released a statement on Tuesday slamming the law’s passage.
“This dangerous new law allows for late-term abortion on-demand across Massachusetts, and secret abortions for minor girls as young as 16,” the group’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, said. “Governor Baker is pro-choice, but this legislation was too much for him to stomach: his veto exemplifies just how extreme it is.
“The actions taken by Democrats to ram through this legislation are a reflection of just how extreme the party has become on abortion,” she continued. “Led by Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats’ agenda for the entire nation is reflected in this bill: abortion on-demand, up until the moment of birth.”
State Sen. Harriette Chandler, a Democrat, cheered the ROE Act as a win for “reproductive freedom.”
“Pregnant people who once faced near-insurmountable barriers accessing abortion care can now seize the right to control their own bodies,” she said in a tweet. “I am so proud of the policies included in the #ROEAct and of the @MA_Senate for our commitment to reproductive freedom.”
Pregnant people who once faced near-insurmountable barriers accessing abortion care can now seize the right to control their own bodies.
— Harriette Chandler (@Sen_Chandler) December 29, 2020
The bill expands women’s legal authority to get an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy if doctors say the baby will not survive after birth. The bill also scrapped a rule requiring a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion procedure could take place.
In a letter to lawmakers explaining his veto, Baker said that while he supported many measures of the bill, he could not sign the legislation because of the lower age of consent to get an abortion.
“I cannot support the sections of this proposal that expand the availability of later term abortions and permit minors age 16 and 17 to get an abortion without the consent of a parent or guardian,” Baker wrote, according to WBUR.
The push by Democrats to pass the measure picked up steam after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September. After the Senate confirmed President Trump’s pick to replace Ginsburg, Amy Coney Barrett, in October, Democrats said that the conservative Supreme Court pick put legal access to abortions at risk. Democrats argued that the state needed to take steps to codify Roe v. Wade in case the Supreme Court overturned the decision.
Conservative lawmakers argued against the bill, and chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party Jim Lyons compared the bill’s provisions to “infanticide,” according to WBUR.