Massachusetts Catholic Bishops Call for Defeat of Wider Abortion Access Law
Massachusetts Catholic bishops have expressed opposition to an amendment that would expand access to abortion statewide.
The amendment is expected to be voted on this week in the House of Representatives as part of a larger bill.
Declaring that “the Catholic Church teaches that life itself begins at conception and ends with natural death,” the bishops urged legislation, a modification of the so-called Egg Act that they opposite earlier, be defeated.
Earlier this week, some 300 pastors sent a letter to Governor Charlie Baker expressing their opposition to the legislation discussed by the House of Representatives as part of the state budget proposal for the next fiscal year and one of several hundred amendments attached to it.
“While we recognize that the amendment addresses some concerns raised about deeply troubling provisions in ROE legislation, the fact remains that abortion would remain an option in certain circumstances throughout the duration of pregnancy,” Declaration of the Catholic Bishops bed.
“This fact alone is in direct conflict with Catholic teaching and must be fought.”
Versions of legislation tabled in the House and Senate, collectively known as the “Removing Barriers and Expanding Access to Abortion Act,” propose removing requirements for parental consent and legal circumvention for minors wishing to have an abortion, as well as authorizing a doctor to perform an abortion. beyond the 24 week period permit legally when the doctor judges that an abortion is “necessary to protect the life or the physical or mental health of the patient, or in the case of fatal fetal abnormalities, or when the fetus is incompatible with a sustained life outside the womb.” “
The revised Roe Act legislation was proposed by Representative Claire Cronin, a Democrat from Easton and co-chair of the Joint Judicial Committee which reviewed the previous legislation.
Cronin’s legislation is similar to that of the Roe Act in which abortion would be allowed beyond 24 weeks. It proposes lowering the age of consent for an abortion from 18 to 16, but would require people under the age of 16 to have the consent of a parent or guardian to get an abortion.
Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo and Speaker of the Senate Karen Spilka expressed their support such legislation would be approved by members gathered in lame session, citing fears that the now nine-member United States Supreme Court could overturn legalized abortion in the country, although Governor Charlie Baker did not indicate support for such expanded reproductive rights legislation.
The Bishops’ Declaration was signed by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston, Bishop of Fall River Edgar M. da Cunha and Bishop of Worcester Robert J. McManus who served as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Springfield where a new bishop, the Tour. William Byrne, will be installed in December.