Rep. Stanley Urges House to Pass Bill to Expand Women’s Reproductive Rights Protection in Commonwealth in Wake of Supreme Court Roe v. Wade Decision

Rep. Stanley Remarks on H4930: Ensuring access to both gender affirming and reproductive health care services. 6/29/22

In anticipation of the US Supreme Court’s recent decision to rescind reproductive rights, Massachusetts enacted the Roe Act in 2020 to ensure people in this Commonwealth would continue to have the legal right to make personal health decisions and to have access to those services regardless of anticipated Supreme Court actions.

During our recent budget considerations, I filed a successful budget amendment to fund expanded access to reproductive health services for all. At that time, I acknowledged that while a positive step, it would not be enough, and that Massachusetts would need to bolster the Commonwealth’s reproductive freedom infrastructure as we prepared our providers and clinics and non-profits to face increased demand for protection and care when the anticipated Supreme Court action was taken.

House 4930 is the product of that preparation. Working with Massachusetts Reproductive Equity Now, Planned Parenthood, health care providers and House colleagues has resulted in a comprehensive and much needed response. It also anticipates that the US Supreme Court’s recent decision will not be its last assault on personal rights and protections.

H 4930 ensures access to both gender affirming and reproductive health care services. This would be a right under the law and constitution of Massachusetts. It requires health insurance to provide coverage for abortions without a co-pay or other financial barrier. It guarantees access to emergency contraception and protects providers. It also prohibits sharing of information relative to, punishment of, and extradition of persons who provide legally protected health care services when demanded by another state. This bill shields providers of reproductive and gender-affirming care as well as their patients from out-of-state legal action.

House 4930 outlines broad liability protections for both providers who offer abortions and related care as well as for patients who receive them. Licensing boards would be forbidden from disciplining professionals for providing or assisting reproductive care and gender-affirming care.

Massachusetts police would also be barred from providing any information or assistance to federal agencies, another state’s law enforcement, or private citizens seeking to take action against someone for services such as abortion legally provided in the Bay State, and the governor could not extradite someone to another state to face charges for seeking that kind of care here.

This proposal additionally seeks to boost access to emergency contraception, calling for the Department of Public Health to issue a statewide standing order allowing licensed pharmacists to dispense those drugs.

Passage of House 4930 makes it clear that, unlike the US Supreme Court, Massachusetts will stand with and for both gender-affirming health services and every person’s right to reproductive choices. I urge passage of this important bill.