One of our core strategies has been to pass laws in every state possible to secure reproductive freedom. In Massachusetts, we worked alongside partners for many years to reform the Commonwealth’s surprisingly restrictive reproductive health laws, securing reproductive freedom in state law, removes barriers to abortion and expands access to this care.
In 2017, we worked together to pass the ACCESS (Advancing Contraceptive Coverage and Economic Security in our State) bill, which put in place state-level protections for contraceptive access without a copay.
In 2018, we passed the NASTY Woman Act, repealing the commonwealth’s centuries-old criminal abortion law. Armed with polling, messaging, and grassroots power, we worked closely with in-state partners to push the legislature — which had long been entrenched in opposition to proactively addressing the laws regarding abortion access — to finally pass this law. As Rebecca Hart Holder, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts’ Executive Director, said recently, “We’re a small organization—a staff of five—and NIRH really amplifies the work that we do…We just wouldn’t be here today without NIRH. Full stop. It’s that simple.”
In 2021, the legislature overrode two vetoes by Governor Baker to pass the ROE Act. The ROE Act represents NIRH’s core strategy to not only secure reproductive freedom in state law, but to also make sure we remove barriers to abortion access that fall particularly on those with least access to care. That’s why it was so important to us that it also eliminated the harmful requirement that 16- and 17-year-olds must get parental or judicial consent, repealed criminal penalties for abortion care later in pregnancy, and made it clear that trained, qualified advanced practice clinicians are authorized to provide abortions. For more detail, please see our press release.