Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker Thursday vetoed the so-called ROE Act (“An Act to Remove Obstacles and Expand Abortion Access”) that seeks to codify the right to abortion and to expand access to abortion in the state. The governor indicated that he agreed with the codification of abortion rights but felt the Act went too far.
The ROE Act seeks to allow women broader access to abortion by allowing abortions up to the 24th week of pregnancy and eliminate the current 24-hour waiting period for the procedure. Furthermore, the Act creates a judicial bypass for 16- and 17-year-olds who do not receive parental consent for abortion.
In his explanation to the legislature, Baker stated he could not approve the bill because of two main reasons: first, minors should not be allowed access to abortion without parental consent; and second, abortions at 24 weeks should be restricted only to cases where the fetus would not survive to term.
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts was quick to criticize Baker. The organization claimed that Baker’s veto pandered to anti-abortion extremists, and specifically criticized what it perceived as the governor forcing women to travel to other states for late-term abortions as well as allowing minors to make all decisions about their pregnancy except for the decision to terminate. Planned Parenthood called on the legislature to override the veto.
The Massachusetts legislature has already indicated an intent to override the veto.
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