Massachusetts Will Sign 'NASTY Women Act' Repealing Archaic Abortion Laws
BOSTON, MA — July 25, 2018
The state law in Massachusetts prohibiting abortion care dates back almost 200 years. State lawmakers voted to pass the NASTY Women Act (Negating Archaic Statutes Targeting Young Women) last week and Gov. Charlie Baker, a pro-choice Republican, confirmed Monday that he would sign it into law.
The law criminalized abortion and prevented doctors from giving contraception to women if they weren’t married. Now women can choose whether or not to have a child.
"We will sign that," Baker announced. "There are many folks in the women’s health community that were particularly concerned about this. The lieutenant governor and I and other folks on our team discussed it, and we do plan to sign it."
The retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and subsequent nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to take his place have prompted fears that Roe v. Wade could be overturned.
"I think people are beginning to realize these are strange times we live in," State Senate President Harriette Chandler told journalists explaining the urgency around passing such a bill.
"Nothing is impossible, and we've got to have a 'plan B.' If these laws are enforced, what do we do?" Chandler, a Democrat, said. "We’re not willing to sit back and say, 'Well, it's not going to happen here.' The word for that is denial."
Much of the U.S., in general, already possesses restrictive abortion laws at the state level. About one-third of states already have laws that would or could outlaw abortion if Roe were to get overturned.
According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Monday, 71 percent of American voters, including the majority of Republicans, don't want to see the law overturned.
- Support for Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in the United States, has hit a record high in the new NBC-WSJ poll ahead of the battle over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the high court.
- The survey shows that 71 percent of Americans believe that Roe should not be overturned, while only 23 percent want the ruling reversed.
- Defenders of abortion rights are concerned that Kavanaugh, who has a conservative track record on the federal bench, could fundamentally change the balance of the top court and put Roe at risk.
For the past three decades, the strategy among anti-abortion groups has been to chip away at abortion rights through increasingly stringent restrictions in the states, hoping to provoke a challenge in court. These laws include bans on abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, or bans on medication abortion, which is the safest and most common method of ending a pregnancy in the first trimester. Abortion foes have deliberately pushed for these unconstitutional abortion restrictions in heartland states like Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri and North and South Dakota, knowing that they will end up in the heavily conservative-leaning 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.