Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker partially rejected a radical pro-abortion amendment in the state budget Friday, sending it back to lawmakers with proposed changes.
Pro-lifers urged Baker, a pro-abortion Republican, to veto the entire amendment, which would allow unborn babies to be aborted for basically any reason up to birth, weaken the state anti-infanticide law, and allow non-doctors to abort unborn babies, among other things.
Instead, according to State House News, Baker asked lawmakers to change the amendment by removing a section allowing underage girls to get abortions without their parents’ knowledge or consent.
MassLive reports Baker also proposed more limits to the expansion of late-term abortions. The section he did not like would allow viable, late-term unborn babies to be aborted after 24 weeks of pregnancy if they are diagnosed with a fatal anomaly or “to preserve the patient’s physical or mental health” – language that can be broadly interpreted to allow abortions for basically any reason up to birth.
Instead, Baker proposed limiting the expansion to fatal fetal anomalies and “tighten[ing] the language for when an abortion could be performed to protect the mental health of the mother,” according to State House News.
“Governor Baker is a strong supporter of women’s access to reproductive health care and is proud to have signed into law several provisions protecting these rights previously,” said Lizzy Guyton, Baker’s communications director, in a statement. “However, he cannot support the sections of this proposal that expand the availability of later-term abortions and permits minors age 16 and 17 to get an abortion without the consent of a parent or guardian.”
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Though not the victory that pro-life advocates had hoped for, at least they are moderate proposals that would protect young, underage girls and their unborn babies and limit the vast expansion of late-term abortions on viable, pain-capable unborn babies. It is not clear if the state legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, will approve the changes.
The state’s leading pro-life group tweeted out this reply:
“… thank you @MassGovernor for opposing major policy changes in budget bills, & protecting our underage girls & infants,” Massachusetts Citizens for Life responded on Twitter.
Stay tuned for more updates, but thank you @MassGovernor for opposing major policy changes in budget bills, & protecting our underage girls & infants.
— MA Citizens for Life (@MassProLife) December 11, 2020
Immediately afterward, abortion activists expressed outrage that the governor refused to fully support their radical pro-abortion agenda. According to MassLive, the ROE Act Coalition accused the governor of refusing to strike down barriers that “disproportionately harm people of color and people with low incomes.”
But polls consistently show that Americans oppose late-term abortions and support parental consent for minors. A recent poll by Susan B. Anthony List found strong opposition to the Massachusetts legislation. According to the poll, 62 percent of Massachusetts voters oppose late-term abortions, including 49 percent of Democrat and 66 percent of independent voters. The same number, 62 percent, also supports the current state law requiring parental consent before a girl under 18 has an abortion.
State residents spoke out in mass for the rights of unborn babies, holding protests, contacting lawmakers and writing letters urging the governor to veto the pro-abortion expansion. Earlier this week, more than 400 pastors across the state wrote a letter to Baker slamming the bill as a “shocking and callous disregard for human life and the importance of parental involvement in the lives of children.”
The Massachusetts Citizens for Life, Massachusetts Family Council and other leading pro-life groups also have been making huge efforts to stop the anti-life legislation from becoming law.
The Massachusetts Family Institute described the legislation as the “Infanticide Act” because it would change a state law that requires abortionists to provide medical care to a baby who survives an abortion, Breitbart reports.
“The reason why this legislation has earned the moniker ‘Infanticide Act’ is because it removes the requirement that an abortionist ‘shall’ save the life of a baby born alive during a botched abortion and replaces it with the requirement to simply have life-saving equipment in the room with no obligation to use it,” the pro-life organization said.
Massachusetts Catholic leaders also criticized the anti-life legislation in a statement, according to the Catholic News Service.
“We are concerned that the amendment, if enacted, would expand abortion access in the Commonwealth well beyond what is currently in state law,” said Boston Archbishop Sean O’Malley, Worcester Bishop Robert McManus and Fall River Bishop Edgar da Cunha in a statement. “Abortion at any time, from the moment of conception to birth, is in direct conflict with Catholic teaching and must be opposed.”
Similar legislation passed in New York, Illinois, Vermont and Rhode Island last year, prompting massive outrage. Another pro-abortion bill narrowly failed in New Mexico because of strong public opposition.
Action: Contact Massachusetts lawmakers.