House Overrides Baker Abortion Bill Veto

The Massachusetts State House and Flag. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The Massachusetts state flag flies in front of the State House. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The House on Monday reaffirmed its support for an expansion of abortion access, voting 107-46 to override Gov. Charlie Baker's veto of a bill that gained traction during this year's lame duck sessions on Beacon Hill.

The vote narrowly cleared the two-thirds margin needed to overcome a gubernatorial veto.

If the Senate follows suit as expected, the bill codifying abortion rights, expanding abortion access for some minors, and allowing the procedure after 24 weeks of pregnancy in some cases would become state law.

The Republican governor had first attempted to change the underlying proposal, but after his recommendations were rejected he vetoed it on Christmas Eve.

Baker bristled at the plan to lower the age, from 18 to 16, at which individuals can seek abortions without first acquiring the consent of a parent or a judge and at the language outlining when an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy is allowed.

Democratic leaders have faced increasing pressure from activists to expand abortion access in Massachusetts following the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Charlie Baker's cowardice doesn't take a break for the holidays. Hoping that we would all be too busy to notice, Charlie Baker once again caved in to the extreme right-wing of his Republican Party by vetoing critical abortion access provisions that would put our laws in line with neighboring states like Maine, New York and Connecticut," Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair Gus Bickford said in response to the veto. "Charlie Baker is choosing to stand with right-wing extremists, instead of doctors, women, and the vast majority of voters in Massachusetts."

Massachusetts Republican Party Chair Jim Lyons commended Baker.

"Gov. Baker correctly recognized that this legislation simply goes too far, and he should be applauded for standing up and saying 'no' to the abortion lobby," Lyons said. "Gov. Baker's decision, made the day before millions celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, should send a message to the lawmakers that this legislation has no place in a humane society."



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