Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley and Boston City Councilors Michelle Wu and Lydia Edwards joined forces to support a bill that would loosen restrictions on abortions in Massachusetts on Monday.
The bill would officially codify Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in cases other than medical emergencies, in Massachusetts law and eliminate the requirement for consent from a parent or judge for minors as well as completely eliminating the current age requirement of 18 for abortions.
The Commonwealth is already less restrictive in terms of abortion than other states, but this bill would solidify the state’s values and make it more difficult for a federal government to infringe upon Massachusetts residents’ control of their bodies.
The legislation would make abortion a completely medical procedure, as it should be. Instead of going through courts to gain permission, young girls that choose to get abortions, whether because of rape, incest or unwanted pregnancy, can go to a doctor and be properly evaluated in that way. Loosening outside restrictions does not change anything that actually goes on during the procedure.
Many young girls are likely uncomfortable telling their parents that they may be or are pregnant for a multitude of reasons, but sitting in front of a complete stranger in a courtroom and asking permission is hardly better. The choice to get an abortion is rarely easy and especially for minors can it be traumatic, but necessary.
Additionally, this means the fate of these pregnant people would depend on the personal politics of the judge and not the actual legality of the issue, as too many verdicts already do.
The bill has moved slowly in the House because of reluctance to give into the elimination of an age restriction. But it is illogical to support the freedom of women to get abortions when they choose and not allow young girls the same opportunity.
Although this bill is important, it is only the start for Massachusetts, which is only one state. The bill may need to be reevaluated to suit the positions of more House members in order to pass the portions that are essential to maintaining reproductive rights in the state.
Hopefully the support of the most influential women in the state will be enough to move the conversation on this bill and women’s freedom over their bodies in the state.