Baker signs abortion executive order

Reaction from Healey, Lesser, Auchincloss

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER on Friday signed an executive order protecting Massachusetts abortion providers from prosecution by other states that have made providing an abortion a criminal act.

The order prohibits executive agencies from assisting another state’s investigation into anyone receiving or providing an abortion. It also bars abortion providers from losing their license or being disciplined based on an out-of-state charge. And it bars the state from cooperating with extradition requests from states pursuing criminal charges against people involved with providing reproductive health services that are legal in Massachusetts.

“I am deeply disappointed in today’s decision by the Supreme Court which will have major consequences for women across the country who live in states with limited access to reproductive health care services,” Baker said in signing the order.

In Massachusetts, where abortion rights are protected by law, here is a sampling of a few of the reactions to the Supreme Court decision from local officials.

Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democratic candidate for governor, said Massachusetts will welcome patients from other states seeking an abortion here. 

“We knew this was coming, but that doesn’t make it any less painful, less enraging, or less terrifying for the tens of millions of people who stand to lose access to basic, life-saving care. Today, for the first time ever, the Court has taken away a constitutional right – a right that has been recognized for nearly half a century. But in Massachusetts and other states where abortion will remain legal and accessible, we’ll do everything we can to ensure patients from across the country can receive needed care and to support and protect our providers who are offering that care. The majority of Americans want to keep abortion safe and legal, and I’m calling on Congress to do just that by codifying Roe.”

State Sen. Eric Lesser, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, called for a state constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights. 

 “Today’s dangerous decision by the Supreme Court confirmed our worst fears and validates the need to codify Roe in our state constitution. Thanks to steps Massachusetts has previously taken, abortion will remain legal and is protected under state-level statute. However, today’s decision raises the risk of a federal ban on abortion in the near future, which is why further safeguards are now necessary. Specifically, I believe we need to begin the process to enshrine reproductive freedom in our state constitution, alongside the freedom of speech, assembly, religion, and other basic rights. Our neighbors in Vermont have already begun this process. It’s important to start now, especially since it takes many years to complete. With the threat of our rights being changed at a moment’s notice, Massachusetts must put up every possible protection for our residents and families.”

US Rep. Jake Auchincloss, a 4th District Democrat, called for the US Senate to make abortion a national right. 

“For the first time in my life, the Supreme Court has rolled back a fundamental individual right and a majority of Americans are angry. We’re angry because we know that women should control decisions about their own bodies and their own lives. Abortion is going to remain safe and legal in Massachusetts, and the Commonwealth is stepping up to be a safe haven for women who are in healthcare deserts. At the federal level, we are also working to protect access to abortion medication. But what we really need is for the Senate to step up and follow the House’s lead in making Roe the law of the land.”