US Politics

Massachusetts compromise bill expanding abortion rights sent to governor’s desk

The Massachusetts State House in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston.

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A Massachusetts compromise bill expanding reproductive rights and medical treatment for gender dysphoria has been sent to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk after it was approved Tuesday by lawmakers. 

Bill H. 5090, titled “An Act expanding protections for reproductive and gender-affirming care,” was passed with a 137-16 vote in the House and then approved in a 39-1 Senate vote. The compromise bill includes text from Senate Bill S.3003, in which abortion rights and medical treatment for gender dysphoria are expanded, as well as a new emergency preamble, saying: 

“It is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.”

The bill further extends legal protections to “abortion providers, out-of-state patients, and insurers” as well as access to contraceptives and resources to women in “grave circumstances” past their 24-week mark, according to a press statement released by Senate President Karen Spilka, D-Mass. 

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The bill encapsulates “gender-affirming services” and “reproductive health care services” as “legally protected health care,” stating that such services are rights secured by the state constitution

“Gender-affirming services” include “all supplies, care and services” related in some nature to the treatment of gender dysphoria, as defined by the bill text. 

The Massachusetts State House in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston.
(Thomas Kurmeier via Getty Images)

Likewise, the bill defines “all supplies, care and services” related in some nature “to pregnancy, contraception, assisted reproduction, miscarriage management or the termination of a pregnancy” as “reproductive health care services.”

The bill requires public educational institutions to have “a medication abortion readiness plan” in place for its students, including providing medical abortions to students in health centers and providing referrals as well as information on how to obtain an abortion.  

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Pharmacists will also receive an order from the Department of Public Health, granting them the authorization to dispense emergency contraceptives. Likewise, vending machines can dispense over-the-counter drugs, including Plan B. 

Abortion is currently legal in Massachusetts, with the procedure…

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