The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a budget Thursday that includes a controversial amendment expanding access to late-term abortion and removing protections for babies who survive an abortion.
The House passed the budget 143-14, although the abortion rights amendment passed by a closer margin of 108-49.
Democrats control both the House and the Senate, although the state’s governor, Charlie Baker, is a Republican who opposes late-term abortion. Massachusetts law gives him the power to “line-item veto” the abortion amendment while signing the rest of the bill.
The amendment, sponsored by Democrat state Rep. Claire Cronin, removes language from current law that requires doctors to “take all reasonable steps, both during and subsequent to the abortion” to “preserve the life and health of the aborted child.” Cronin’s amendment includes weaker language that says a late-term abortion must be performed in a room that has “life-supporting equipment … to enable the physician performing the abortion to take appropriate steps, in keeping with good medical practice and consistent with the procedure being used, to preserve the life and health of a live birth and the patient.”
“The new language states only that there must be ‘life-supporting equipment’ present, and eliminates the requirement for the abortionist to actually USE it,” Massachusetts Citizens for Life said in a statement.
Cronin’s amendment also expands access to abortion after 24 weeks and removes parental consent for minors ages 16 and 17 who want an abortion. Current law includes a judicial bypass.
The bill now advances to the Massachusetts Senate.
Baker indicated he was unhappy with an abortion amendment being placed in a budget bill.
“I do share some of the unhappiness that was raised by a number of members of the Republican Party — that putting policy in the budget was something that both leaders in the House and Senate said they would not do,” Baker said, according to the Boston Globe. “And it’s pretty hard to argue that this isn’t a major policy initiative that is now in the budget.”
Photo courtesy: Irina Murza/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.