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Governor Charlie Baker signs bill protecting access to abortion in Massachusetts into law

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Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill protecting women’s access to abortion in Massachusetts into law Friday, as states across the country continue to ban the practice in the wake of last month’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The new law protects patients and providers from legal interference when they are accessing or providing reproductive and gender-affirming health care services that are legally protected in Massachusetts.

“Massachusetts remains steadfast in its commitment to protect access to reproductive health care services, especially in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade,” Baker said.

“The Court’s decision has major consequences for women across the country who live in states with limited access to these services, and our administration took quick action in the hours following that decision by issuing an executive order to protect access here in the commonwealth.”

The law codifies several of the provisions put into place by the executive order Baker issued after the Supreme Court ruled that there was no constitutional right to abortion, and adopts several new or expanded measures included in the Legislature’s bill that was passed on Tuesday.

Under the new law, the commonwealth is prohibited from assisting with other states’ investigations or legal proceedings regarding reproductive and gender-affirming services that may be restricted in other states.

It also requires the state’s Medicaid program, called MassHealth, to cover abortions, enables any pharmacist to provide emergency contraception, and allows that contraception to be sold in vending machines.

State law now permits abortions to be performed after 24 weeks when it is necessary to preserve the patient’s life or physical or mental health, in cases of lethal fetal anomaly, or when a diagnosis indicates the fetus cannot survive outside the uterus.

“Pregnant people, trans people, and all people must be allowed to make their own health care decisions in consultation with their physician without fear,” Senate President Karen Spilka said.

House Speaker Ron Mariano said the legislation ensures Massachusetts will continue to act as a safe haven for women seeking abortion, “as states across the country move to restrict access to abortion,” following the Supreme Court decision.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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