The draft Supreme Court decision which would overturn Roe v. Wade, first reported by Politico, has sent political and personal shockwaves through the country. On the local level, Lexington’s staunchly pro-choice State House delegation was appalled by the news and said the state has more work to do to protect the autonomy and healthcare of women in and out of Massachusetts.
State Representative Michelle Ciccolo wants Mass. to follow CT’s lead as a safe haven for abortion providers
- “I am horrified by the reversal of Roe v. Wade as detailed in the leaked Supreme Court opinion,” State Representative Michelle Ciccolo (D-15th Middlesex) wrote in an email to LexObserver.
- She was proud to vote in favor of passing the Roe Act codifying and expanding abortion access in state law last session, she added, and is co-signer of two pending bills to increase abortion coverage and require public universities to provide medication abortion. Still, Ciccolo believes that now, “we can and must do more to extend these protections.”
- First, she supports augmenting funding: The House budget included “significant funding to support abortion access” (at least $500,000) that the Senate is “poised to increase.” Ciccolo “also believe[s] Massachusetts should follow the lead of other states, such as Connecticut, who are seeking to expand service providers and other supportive actions.” She expects Massachusetts to become a safe haven for out-of-state women seeking abortions as other states “take draconian action and outlaw abortions,” she wrote. “We must be ready to support and protect these women and their medical providers to ensure the health and safety of all.”
State Senator Mike Barrett says decision would leave a “permanent stain” on the Supreme Court
- “If the Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade, it will be the most consequential decision of the last 50 years and a permanent stain on the institution,” Senator Mike Barrett (D-3rd Middlesex) told LexObserver. “People in my house, people in my immediate family are very upset – and so am I.” He expects the decision to “reverberate through the decades and leave the institution in much weakened conditions.”
- While the Massachusetts legislature anticipated this decision and passed legislation about a year ago, Barrett agreed with Ciccolo: “I don’t think we’re done,” he said. “We need to appropriate additional money to support abortion services for both in-staters and out-of-staters.”
- He expects one unintended consequence of this decision will be “further polarization of the two political parties, even within progressive Massachusetts, along issue lines,” with “probably less room for pro-choice people within the Republican Party here, just for starters.”
State Senator Cindy Friedman remembers when Roe v. Wade was decided
- The morning after the news broke, Cindy Friedman (D-4th Middlesex) posted a public statement to Twitter. “I marched in Washington in the 70s to protect a woman’s right to choose,” she wrote. “Almost 50 years later, the Supreme Court delivers a disgusting, but not surprising, assault on this right. We won’t be silent, and if you were looking for a wake-up call for action, the phone just rang.”
Congressional reaction: “Dystopian horrors”
- Lexington’s federal representative, Assistant Speaker of the House Katherine Clark (D-MA5) wrote an opinion piece in the Boston Globe three months ago about her own crushing miscarriage and how revoking access to abortion threatens women’s healthcare. “If there were bounty hunters when I suffered a miscarriage, would my routine surgery have been readily available to me? Certainly not,” she wrote.
- Following the news Monday night, Clark called the decision “devastating” and wrote “Overturning #Roe would create a second class of citizens & make the dystopian horrors of forced pregnancy a reality, especially for low-income women. But that is exactly the goal: to take away our rights, agency, and humanity. We will not go quietly.”