STATEMENT OF THE WOMEN'S BAR ASSOCIATION APPLAUDING MASSACHUSETTS POLICYMAKERS FOR EXPANDING PROTECTIONS FOR REPRODUCTIVE AND GENDER-AFFIRMING CARE.
BOSTON, MA – July 29, 2022 - The Women’s Bar Association (WBA) of Massachusetts applauds Massachusetts policymakers for advancing HB 5090 – An Act Expanding Protections for Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Care, which was signed into law by Governor Baker today. The new law represents Massachusetts’ strong response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization to overturn Roe v. Wade and expressly eliminates an individual’s fundamental right to determine whether, when and how to bear a child free from government interference.
The new law protects patients and providers from legal interference when they are engaged in accessing or providing reproductive and gender-affirming health care services that are legally protected in Massachusetts. The law also codifies several protections that Governor Baker put in place by Executive Order last month to prohibit the state from assisting with other states’ investigations or legal proceedings regarding health care services that may be restricted in other states. The law also includes requirements for insurers to cover abortion or abortion-related services without imposing deductibles, copayments or other cost-sharing requirements, provisions addressing abortions performed at 24 weeks or later and measures that expand access to contraception across the state, including creating a standing order enabling pharmacists to dispense emergency contraception. The law will also soon require public colleges and universities to provide medication abortion at their on-campus health centers.
“Massachusetts has always had a history of protecting women’s access to contraceptive care. However, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent actions, it is clear that we need to do more. I am immensely proud of Massachusetts lawmakers for acting swiftly and providing an example of strong leadership to other states by strengthening access to abortion-related health care,” said Kristy Lavigne, WBA President.
The WBA has a long history fighting for privacy, equality, and reproductive justice for all. The WBA previously joined together with many coalition partners to tirelessly advocate, provide testimony, and engage in outreach regarding reproductive rights. In concert, we helped secure the passage of the ROE Act which ensured equitable access to abortion care in Massachusetts. Most recently, the WBA urged Governor Baker to sign HB 5090 to expand critical protections. As a result of this work, the people of Massachusetts will continue to have access to safe and affordable abortion care and health care providers will be protected in providing this care which is legal in the state.
While we applaud the actions taken in Massachusetts, we know that not all states have the luxury of support from their elected officials. We cannot passively stand by while those who give birth are stripped of fundamental rights and threatened with potential retaliation for accessing reproductive health care elsewhere. Therefore, we will continue our fight until we achieve reproductive rights for all.
Kristy Lavigne Margaret Talmers
President Executive Director
Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts
KristyL714@outlook.com (617) 973-6666 | email@example.com
About the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts
Founded in 1978 by a group of activist women lawyers, the Women’s Bar Association (“WBA”) boasts a large membership of women lawyers across Massachusetts. The WBA is committed to the full and equal participation of women in the legal profession and in a just society. The WBA works to achieve this mission through the work of its committees, events, and the development and promotion of a robust legislative agenda to address society’s most critical social and legal issues. Other WBA activities include networking and professional development, amicus advocacy, studying employment issues affecting women, encouraging women to enter the judiciary, recognizing the achievement of women in the law, and providing pro bono services to women in need through its sister organization, the Women’s Bar Foundation. For more information, visit www.womensbar.org.
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