Massachusetts

With increased federal and state threats to reproductive freedom, Pro-Choice Massachusetts Foundation (PCMF) is continuing to work with NIRH to make the Commonwealth a safe access point for the full range of reproductive health care. In 2020, NIRH and the PCMF are building on their voter education and coalition efforts and galvanizing public support to expand abortion access, remove barriers to care, and ensure healthier, more equitable communities. A chief goal is passage of the ROE Act, which would enshrine abortion rights in state law, improve access to care for young people, those lacking health insurance, and patients facing lethal fetal diagnoses. This project involves collaboration with SiX. In 2019, NIRH worked closely with the PCMF to reform current laws to remove barriers to access, expand legislative protections for reproductive freedom, and motivate voters to vote for reproductive rights. They accomplished these goals through the creation of a steering committee to fight for reproductive freedom in Massachusetts with partners Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts and the ACLU of Massachusetts and advocacy for the ROE Act, a bill that would codify the right to choose and expand access to abortion through repeal of anti-choice laws that interfere with personal decisions about whether to become a parent. Further, they argued for proactive steps to create an insurance safety net that would aid people seeking abortion care, particularly undocumented people, to ensure that finances are not an impediment to exercising the right to choose. With support from NIRH, PCMF continued to reach voters and legislators through a variety of avenues such as public forums, letters to the editor, one-on-one conversations with voters, and phone banks. Through this effort, PCMF and their coalition partners brought over 700 providers, young people, and faith leaders to testify at the legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary hearing on the ROE Act. PCMF worked with their steering committee to expand their coalition to include over 70 organizations, and build power around Massachusetts, including in rural areas. This project involved collaboration with SiX. In 2018, with support from NIRH, Massachusetts confronted the new threat to reproductive freedom by passing the NASTY Woman Act, repealing the state’s centuries-old criminal abortion law. PCMF received additional support from NIRH in 2018 to address private and public insurance barriers to offering immediate post-partum LARC placement by identifying current reimbursement policies for immediate postpartum LARC among private health insurers and using this research to inform advocacy for administrative policy change to expand coverage of immediate postpartum LARC. PCMF also worked with major health care facilities across the state towards implementation of this service. In 2017, PCMF built on Massachusetts’ status as a model policy lab for health care by successfully advocating for the passage of the ACCESS (Advancing Contraceptive Coverage and Economic Security in our State) bill, which put in place state-level protections for contraceptive access. Among other provisions, this bill codified coverage of contraception with no copay into state law; required insurance coverage without copay or prescription for over-the counter emergency contraception; and limited medical management techniques that pose barriers to contraceptive access. In 2013, PCMF strengthened and grew the Mass Women's Health Coalition (MWHC), which monitored implementation of the ACA and Massachusetts cost containment legislation. The organization also submitted recommendations to the Division of Insurance on protecting confidentiality. In 2009, PCMF launched a citywide coalition in Boston to provide recommendations to the Boston Public Health Commission on adolescent reproductive health, with support from NIRH. In the 2012-2013 school year, this Coalition led successful advocacy efforts to implement the Boston Public Schools Wellness Policy, a holistic curriculum that includes K-12 comprehensive sex education.