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Mass. Senate to Vote on Bill Expanding Abortion Access

The Massachusetts Senate is slated to vote on legislation Tuesday that would establish the right to an abortion in state law and make the procedure more accessible.

The bill, known as the ROE Act, would expand access to abortion beyond 24 weeks in cases of fatal fetal anomalies and lower the age of consent from 18 to 16. Current state law allows abortions after 24 weeks only to preserve the life or health of the mother.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed the bill on Christmas Eve, arguing that he “cannot support” reducing the age that women are required to get permission from a parent or judge. Baker also proposed qualifying language for abortions after 24 weeks.

A coalition of organizations including NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts and the ACLU have been pushing to pass the ROE Act on Beacon Hill as women in Massachusetts are forced to get abortion care elsewhere.

The push gained renewed momentum since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Supreme Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to replace her — which consolidated a conservative majority on the bench.

The governor’s veto kicked the issue back to the Legislature. The Massachusetts House voted to override Baker Monday. The Senate is likely to seek to an override Tuesday as well.

The State House News Service contributed to this report.

New England Cable News

New England Cable News is a regional 24-hour cable news television network owned and operated by NBCUniversal serving the New England region of the United States. It focuses on regional news, though in some low priority timeslots, paid programming and programming from WNBC such as Talk Stoop and Open House are seen.

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