House overrides Baker’s abortion veto

3 anti-abortion reps choose not to vote

THE HOUSE ON MONDAY voted 107-46 to override Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of legislation allowing women as young as 16 to obtain abortions without parental or judicial consent and expanding when pregnancies can be terminated after six months.

The Senate on Tuesday is expected to join the House in overriding the governor’s veto, giving the Legislature a victory on the issue of broader abortion access at a time when President Trump has added several justices perceived as anti-abortion to the US Supreme Court. It’s not clear if a Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision protecting a woman’s right to have an abortion without excessive government intervention, would have any impact in Massachusetts.

The vote in the House cleared the two-thirds majority required to accomplish an override with several votes to spare, in part because three members who typically oppose abortion chose not to vote at all. House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who had been voting present on all previous roll calls on Monday, voted yes to override.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

The three abortion opponents who chose not to vote Monday on the override were Democrats Carole Fiola of Fall River, David Nangle of Lowell, and Angelo Scaccia of Boston. All three voted to support the governor’s amendment removing the provisions dealing with parental and judicial consent and late-term abortions on December 16. Rep. Marcos Devers of Lawrence voted present Monday, as he did during the December 16 vote on Baker’s abortion amendment.

Baker has repeatedly said he supports many of the provisions in the abortion bill, which passed initially as part of the fiscal 2020 budget. But he said he could not support provisions expanding access to late-term abortions beyond situations involving lethal fetal anomalies. He also opposed lowering from 18 to 16 the age at which women can obtain abortions without parental or judicial consent.

Baker initially tried to remove those provisions through an amendment, but the amendment was rejected in both branches. Baker on Thursday vetoed the abortion bill, prompting the House action to override his veto Monday.