Wednesday July 19th, Massachusetts’ House passed bill S.2260, nicknamed the NASTY Women Act. This bill is an emergency attempt to “protect young women and their reproductive rights” with the growing fear the new Supreme Court bench will overrule Roe v. Wade, although the state senate passed the bill long before Kavanaugh’s nomination.
It is said to protect young women and their reproductive health by erasing archaic laws which have been on the books in Massachusetts for years. With Governor Charlie Baker on record in support of bill S.2260, it is sure to be signed into law.
Some of the “archaic” laws S.2260 would repeal include:
- Requiring abortions after 13 weeks be performed in a hospital
- Making performing an abortion punishable by up to seven years in prison
- Jail time from five to 20 years for whoever helps administer an abortifacient if the mother dies from having an abortion
- Laws allowing only a doctor to prescribe contraceptives and requiring the patient be married
One of the most outspoken abortion advocates, NARAL, has their hopes set on seeing the eradication of criminalizing the procurement of a miscarriage. Their reasoning is the 19th-century law can still be used to prosecute women who perform at-home abortions.
Such was the 2007 case of Amber Abreu, who took three misoprostol pills at home in order to induce an abortion. She delivered the baby at a hospital, although the baby died only four days later. Because the baby was determined to have been 25 weeks gestation and Massachusetts law banned abortions after the 24th week, she was charged with violating Massachusetts General Law, Part IV, Title I, Chapter 272, Section 19.
One of the reasons Abreu was not prosecuted for homicide was because the District Attorney was not sure they could convince a jury the baby was viable at 25 weeks. The DA’s office said, “The baby was 25 weeks, and you can’t prove viability beyond a reasonable doubt at 25 weeks.” Science has since refuted this statement as babies are now known to be able to live outside of the womb after only 21 weeks gestation.
The removal of these laws and other laws like them is being severely scrutinized by pro-life organizations in Massachusetts. Most are asking if the stated intent of bill S.2260 is to protect women, why does the bill remove punishments for those who administer abortifacients in the event a woman dies as a result of the abortion?
Or as J. David Franks says, “Why would anyone who cares about the health of women and girls want to remove such a provision, unless the goal is to advance the profiteering of abortion clinics?”
Although touted as a win for women, Bill S.2260 invites the question why the removal of such common-sense laws was necessary. Truly, if one is for the protection of women, they would not be supportive of repealing the punishment of her killer? Regardless of one’s position on abortion, it does make one stop and question what good will come from reversing these laws.