Our Local Partners in Massachusetts
NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts is building on Massachusetts’ status as a model policy lab for health care by advocating for the ACCESS (Advancing Contraceptive Coverage and Economic Security in our State) bill, which proposes state-level protections for contraceptive access. Among other provisions, this bill would codify coverage of contraception with no copay into state law; require insurance coverage without copay or prescription for over-the counter emergency contraception; and limit medical management techniques that pose barriers to contraceptive access. NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts’ advocacy for the ACCESS bill will include lobby days and implementing a public awareness campaign by creating Reproductive Freedom Scorecards.
In 2013, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts 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, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts launched a citywide coalition in Boston to provide recommendations to the Boston Public Health Commission on adolescent reproductive health. 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.
Prison Birth Project (PBP) is continuing their partnership with the local women’s jail by offering childbirth education and full-spectrum doula support for incarcerated people who are pregnant, using the reproductive justice framework. The organization is also raising awareness of the experiences of incarcerated parents and developing strategies to share their expertise and lessons learned with organizations that engage in similar work across the country. NIRH is proud to continue its longstanding partnership with PBP, which includes work towards the passage and subsequent implementation of Massachusetts’ 2014 anti-shackling policy.
Prison Birth Project (Holyoke, MA) continued their advocacy and outreach efforts to advance member leadership and strengthen relationships with allies in the Holyoke community. PBP members presented critical, emotional testimony on their personal experiences with shackling, prompting multiple meetings with members from Attorney General’s office who have promised to advise the Dept. of Corrections to adhere to the statutes. In 2016, PBP sought to recruit new members for their parent leadership and organizing group. After seeing low turnout initially, PBP changed their strategy and recruited in residential programs, where parents are already gathered.
In 2015 the Prison Birth Project, with the support of the National Institute, worked to ensure implementation of a Massachusetts state law that prohibits the shackling of pregnant and incarcerated women through pregnancy, labor, delivery, and recovery including the development of a Know Your Rights campaign for incarcerated women. They also created a pilot organizing group of mothers and trans parents who are formerly incarcerated or at increased risk of incarceration to engage affected community members in stregthening protections for incarcerated people. This project was conducted in partnership with Prisoners' Legal Services, a fellow National Institute partner.