The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday voted unanimously to wipe outdated and unenforced laws restricting abortion and contraception from the books, a move one lawmaker said would send a message to the rest of the country.
Sponsored by Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler, the bill — called "an act negating archaic statutes targeting young women" or the NASTY Women Act (S 2260) — repeals laws that include an 1800's ban on all abortions, a state requirement that all non-emergent abortions after the twelfth week of pregnancy be performed in a hospital, and a ban on contraception use for unmarried couples, according to Chandler's office.
"We are living in a time when leaders at the highest levels of power in our country are demeaning women and attempting to roll back their rights," Chandler said in a statement. "Massachusetts must affirm its commitment to protecting women's rights to essential health care and expunge these dangerous laws."
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Discussing the bill on the floor, Sen. Cynthia Creem said that just because the laws are not enforced now does not mean they could not be in the future, citing instances where members of Congress have discussed reversing the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case that made abortion legal throughout the country.
"We need to take a stand and show the rest of the nation that Massachusetts stands with the right to choose and stands for progress," Creem said.
No one spoke against the bill, and the 38 senators present all voted to pass it. The seat formerly held by Lynn Mayor Tom McGee is open, and Sen. Vinny deMacedo did not attend Thursday's session.
The bill still needs approval from the House and Gov. Charlie Baker before it can become law.