Recently, the Massachusetts Legislature passed An Act expanding protections for reproductive and gender-affirming care, which protects and expands access to abortion and other reproductive and gender-affirming healthcare in the Commonwealth. This comprehensive legislation affirms Massachusetts’s leadership when it comes to reproductive rights and freedom in the wake of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
“In the wake of the shocking Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade, it is imperative for the Commonwealth to ensure that abortion providers are fully protected and patients, whether from Massachusetts or other states, have access to the healthcare services they need,” said State Senator Jason Lewis. “I was proud to join with my House and Senate colleagues in passing this critical legislation to further protect and expand access to reproductive and gender-affirming healthcare in Massachusetts. I’m especially pleased that the final bill includes an amendment I filed during the Senate debate to expand access to medication abortion services on our public college and university campuses to help students overcome the significant barriers to care that many face today.”
This legislation provides legal protections to out-of-state patients, abortion care providers, pharmacists, mental health professionals, insurers and other people involved with the delivery of reproductive health services. It prohibits law enforcement officials from cooperating with out-of-state or federal law enforcement agencies investigating abortion care that is legal in Massachusetts. Healthcare providers and patients will also have the option to countersue over abusive litigation. Some other provisions in the bill:
- A requirement that the Department of Public Health issue a standing order enabling all licensed pharmacists to dispense emergency contraception
- A requirement that all insurance providers must cover abortion or abortion-related care without imposing any out-of-pocket costs on patients.
- A requirement that all public colleges and universities in the Commonwealth must either provide medication abortion access for their students or be able to refer them to another provider
- Affirmation of the right to gender-affirming healthcare in the Commonwealth, in case the Supreme Court were to also strip away LGBTQ+ protections in the future
- Clarification of the language included in the 2020 ROE Act regarding circumstances when a patient may seek an abortion later in pregnancy.
In late July, the Massachusetts Legislature enacted An Act expanding protections for reproductive and gender-affirming care, and it was signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker (Chapter 127 of the Acts of 2022).