July 18, 2018

House committee moving toward bill supporting abortion access

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Senate President Harriette Chandler, a Worcester Democrat, has filed a bill maintaining abortion access at a time when such rights may be in doubt nationally.

The House Committee on Ways and Means has begun moving legislation eliminating antiquated anti-abortion statutes, as the future of abortion access has become less certain around the country.

The committee's poll on the bill sponsored by Senate President Harriette Chandler, a Worcester Democrat, was due to end Tuesday afternoon.

The legislation aims to do away with old unenforced statutes dealing with abortion and contraception, including a mid-1800s ban on abortion and contraception for everyone except married couples.

The Senate passed the bill unanimously in January, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo declared his support for it after President Donald Trump nominated U.S. Appeals Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh's nomination has raised the alarm for defenders of abortion access, who have warned that if he joins the court access to abortion granted by the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973 could be at risk.

"I share concerns about the changing dynamic of the Supreme Court, particularly with respect to a women's right to choose. The House will move forward this session to ensure full access to women's reproductive health care," DeLeo said on Twitter.

Abortions offer women a way to end an unwanted pregnancy, but to some the medical procedure is tantamount to murder.

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