Massachusetts lawmakers decried the Supreme Court's decision to end the constitutional right to abortion in the United States. Most expressed anger—and a pledge to fight back.
And Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, signed an executive order designed to protect providers in Massachusetts who help out-of-state patients.
It prohibits any executive department agencies from assisting another state's investigation. It also protects Massachusetts providers who deliver reproductive health care services from losing their professional licenses as the result of an out-of-state charge.
"The commonwealth has long been a leader in protecting a woman’s right to choose and access to reproductive health services, while other states have criminalized or otherwise restricted access,” Baker said in a statement. “This executive order will further preserve that right and protect reproductive health care providers who serve out of state residents."
Abortion in Massachusetts and the rest of New England remains legal. In Massachusetts, abortion is legal through 24 weeks of pregnancy, under state law.
Many members of the state's all-Democratic congressional delegation immediately released statements decrying the decision. Rep. Katherine Clark, the House's fourth-highest ranking Democrat, called the Supreme Court decision "dystopian."
"We will not back down," she added.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in a statement that “extremists will not have the final word.”
“After decades of scheming, Republican politicians have finally forced their unpopular agenda on the rest of America,” she wrote. “They have decided the government — not the person who is pregnant — should make a private health care decision and deny women the right to control their own bodies and futures.”
She said Democrats have the tools to fight back, from legislation to executive orders. She added in a video not to give up hope.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley and three other congresswomen called on President Biden to declare a public health and national emergency in response to the decision, which they said will disproportionately affect Black women
"Declaring a public health emergency and national emergency will allow your administration to utilize additional flexibilities and deploy resources where necessary," they wrote. "In this unprecedented moment, we must act urgently as if lives depend on it because they do."
Sen. Ed Markey called for expanding the Supreme Court and passing a federal law protecting the right to abortion nationwide.
Rep. Seth Moulton called the decision "terribly wrong."
Congressman Richard Neal echoed his fellow Democrats' call to fight.
Rep. Stephen Lynch warned that the decision will lead to the stripping of other rights.
"To the lasting detriment of the court's own legitimacy, this unwarranted and clearly political position will invite—and even compel—additional government interference into private healthcare decisions and certainly threatens other core liberties," he said.
Rep. Jim McGovern said that "extremist Republicans ... are not done stripping away freedoms."
"While this is a dark day in our nation’s history, it must be a catalyst for action," he said.
Rep. Bill Keating said abortion should be "accessible to all, not just those who live in the right part of the country or have the financial resources to travel."
Congressman Jake Auchincloss said the state will step up to be a "safe haven" for those who are in "healthcare deserts."
Rep. Lori Trahan said without access to legal abortion, many pregnant people will now seek out care through unsafe procedures.
“That’s not the America we should want any of our daughters to grow up in, but it’s going to get worse if anti-choice extremists have their way," she said. They’ve been working toward this decision for decades, and they’re already plotting to override state laws like the Roe Act so it’s illegal for every woman in America to control our own bodies.”
Mass. Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat who is running for governor, called it a "dark day in our history." She reiterated that abortion is legal in Massachusetts and she will do "everything in my power to keep it that way."
Republican candidates for Massachusetts governor and lieutenant governor Geoff Diehl and Leah Allen issued a joint statement in support of the ruling: “We both believe in protecting innocent life wherever possible, and we support the Court's decision for its proper interpretation of our Constitution, which takes the question of abortion and places it in the province of the states, where it belongs.”
Massachusetts Attorney General candidate Andrea Campbell said the decision will disproportionately harm women of color and low-income people.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said every level of government needs to step up to protect abortion access.
This article was originally published on June 24, 2022.