Massachusetts Senate overrides Gov. Baker’s veto of ROE Act

The Massachusetts Senate has voted to override Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of the ROE Act, an expansion of abortion access in the state, according to State Senate President Karen Spilka.The State Senate vote in favor of overriding the governor’s veto comes a day after the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted to do the same by a 107-46 margin.The abortion bill (H 5179) — which codifies abortion rights, expands abortion access for some minors, and allows the procedure after 24 weeks of pregnancy in some cases — has become state law.”Protecting access to reproductive healthcare is now law in Massachusetts!” Spilka tweeted Tuesday afternoon.“The passage of these reforms to improve abortion access is a historic milestone for reproductive freedom in Massachusetts. Today, the Commonwealth reestablished itself as a national leader in health care by removing political barriers to abortion and becoming the first state to legislatively ease burdensome restrictions on young people’s access to care,” reads a statement from the ROE Act Coalition. “The legislature’s leadership means no Bay State family who receives a devastating diagnosis later in pregnancy will ever be forced to fly across the country to access compassionate care and no 16- or 17-year-old will ever be forced to navigate the court system to access the health care they need. This legislation will significantly improve the health and wellbeing of Massachusetts residents and represents an important step in removing medically unnecessary barriers to abortion care in our state.”Baker had first attempted to change the underlying proposal, but after his recommendations were rejected, he vetoed it on Christmas Eve.The Republican governor bristled at the plan to lower the age, from 18 to 16, at which individuals can seek abortions without first acquiring the consent of a parent or a judge and at the language outlining when an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy is allowed.Democratic leaders have faced increasing pressure from activists to expand abortion access in Massachusetts following the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.Chris Lisinski, of the State House News Service, contributed to this report.

The Massachusetts Senate has voted to override Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of the ROE Act, an expansion of abortion access in the state, according to State Senate President Karen Spilka.

The State Senate vote in favor of overriding the governor’s veto comes a day after the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted to do the same by a 107-46 margin.

The abortion bill (H 5179) — which codifies abortion rights, expands abortion access for some minors, and allows the procedure after 24 weeks of pregnancy in some cases — has become state law.

“Protecting access to reproductive healthcare is now law in Massachusetts!” Spilka tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

“The passage of these reforms to improve abortion access is a historic milestone for reproductive freedom in Massachusetts. Today, the Commonwealth reestablished itself as a national leader in health care by removing political barriers to abortion and becoming the first state to legislatively ease burdensome restrictions on young people’s access to care,” reads a statement from the ROE Act Coalition. “The legislature’s leadership means no Bay State family who receives a devastating diagnosis later in pregnancy will ever be forced to fly across the country to access compassionate care and no 16- or 17-year-old will ever be forced to navigate the court system to access the health care they need. This legislation will significantly improve the health and wellbeing of Massachusetts residents and represents an important step in removing medically unnecessary barriers to abortion care in our state.”

Baker had first attempted to change the underlying proposal, but after his recommendations were rejected, he vetoed it on Christmas Eve.

The Republican governor bristled at the plan to lower the age, from 18 to 16, at which individuals can seek abortions without first acquiring the consent of a parent or a judge and at the language outlining when an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy is allowed.

Democratic leaders have faced increasing pressure from activists to expand abortion access in Massachusetts following the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chris Lisinski, of the State House News Service, contributed to this report.

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