Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Massachusetts Bill Would Allow Abortion until Birth

From National Review 

The bill, called the “Roe Act,” defines “mental health” in the exact same expansive language that the Supreme Court used in the Roe v. Wade companion case Doe v. Bolton: “all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the person’s age—relevant to the well-being of the patient.” This lenient definition essentially allows for abortion on demand up until the moment of birth.

The Roe Act also would permit abortion after viability if a doctor deems the unborn child  “incompatible with sustained life outside the uterus.” Though the right to abortion is already protected by the Massachusetts state constitution, this legislation would enshrine that right in law as well.

The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research group, frequently ranks Massachusetts as only a “middle-ground” state for abortion rights, chiefly because the state still requires minors to obtain parental consent before seeking an abortion. The new legislation would change that, allowing any woman — or, as the bill puts it, “pregnant person” — to obtain an abortion as long as she has given informed consent. Twenty-one states currently require parental consent for minors, eleven require only parental notification, and five require both parental notification and consent.

Read more here

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