State Watch

Massachusetts passes NASTY Women Act repealing 173-year-old abortion ban


Massachusetts lawmakers have passed a bill that will repeal a more than 150-year-old law banning abortion, a response to fears about the future of Roe v. Wade as President Trump nominates his second Supreme Court justice.

The Negating Archaic Statutes Targeting Young Women Act — or NASTY Women Act — is expected to be signed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, Time reported Monday.

The bill officially repeals a 173-year-old law against “procuring a miscarriage” — even though abortion is already legal in the state, as well as nationwide, following Roe v. Wade.

President Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to fill the seat being vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy, spurring fears about abortion rights on the left.{mosads}

Massachusetts State Senate President Harriette Chandler (D) told Time that lawmakers have wanted to pass this legislation for years but were in no rush as long as Kennedy was on the Supreme Court.

“I think people are beginning to realize these are strange times we live in. Nothing is impossible, and we’ve got to have a ‘plan B.’ If these laws are enforced, what do we do?” Chandler asked. “We’re not willing to sit back and say, ‘Well, it’s not going to happen here.’ The word for that is denial.”

Critics of the NASTY Women Act said there is already a precedent for abortion access in the state, making the new law unnecessary.

“This is one of the most homogenous pro-abortion states in the union … This whole legislation is an exercise in posturing and pandering,” said C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts.

“We’re a very long way from overturning Roe v. Wade. To listen to some of the rhetoric, you will think that the day after Kavanaugh is confirmed, it will be overturned,” Doyle added.

Support for the 1973 ruling has hit an all-time high among Americans, according to a new poll released Monday.

Roughly 71 percent of American voters believe that Roe v. Wade should not be overturned, the poll found.

Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.), are pushing for Kavanaugh to answer direct questions about his stance on abortion rights and his views on the precedents set by Roe v. Wade and other landmark cases.

Tags abortion access Brett Kavanaugh Donald Trump Justice Kennedy Massachusetts Massachusetts NASTY Women Act Roe v. Wade

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