Massachusetts lawmakers approved a sweeping abortion bill Tuesday aimed in part at building a firewall to protect access to the procedure after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month.
The bill would protect abortion providers and people seeking abortions from actions taken by other states, including blocking the governor from extraditing anyone charged in another state unless the acts for which extradition was sought would be punishable by Massachusetts law.
The bill also states that access to reproductive and gender-affirming health care services is a right protected by the Massachusetts Constitution; requires the state’s Medicaid program, known as MassHealth, to cover abortions; allows over-the-counter emergency contraception to be sold in vending machines; and requires public colleges and universities to create medication abortion readiness plans for students.
Abortion rights advocates praised the bill.
“The overturning of Roe v. Wade was a direct attack on a person’s fundamental right to make decisions concerning their own body,” Amy Rosenthal, executive director at Health Care For All, said in a written statement, calling the bill approved by lawmakers “a bold step to guarantee that residents in Massachusetts will continue to have access to all the health care services they need.”
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