State Representative Dylan Fernandes, the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, ACLU of Massachusetts, Indivisible Outer Cape, Cape Cod Women for Change and Upper Cape Women’s Coalition are hosting a meeting on Monday, January 13 to explore the ROE Act.

The legislation, formally titled “An Act to Remove Obstacles and Expand Abortion Access,” would improve access to abortion in Massachusetts. The bill is focused on protecting the health, safety, and privacy of young people, ensuring equitable access to abortion, ensuring medical decisions remain between patients and their doctors, and updating current Massachusetts laws regarding abortion.

The meeting will be at 6:30 PM in the Falmouth Public Library’s Hermann Room.

According to a release from Mr. Fernandes’ office, “Massachusetts has been a leader in the movement for sexual and reproductive freedoms, yet parts of our state law remain outdated and unreasonable. The ROE Act does away with outdated language in our statute, protects the health and privacy of young people, and establishes Massachusetts as a leader in the field of equitable access to abortion.”

”Existing Massachusetts law requires young people under the age of 18 to seek parental consent for abortion. If young people are unable to talk to a parent or bring one to their appointment for an abortion procedure, they must seek judicial bypass, obtaining a lawyer, taking time off school or work, and going before a judge to argue for their own right to opt out of parenthood. Parental consent and judicial bypass laws do nothing to protect young people; they only increase delays to care and drive up costs of medical care. These laws have a disproportionate effect on patients who already face barriers to care, particularly young people of color and young people living in families with low incomes.

”The ROE Act, among other provisions, builds safeguards for young people seeking abortion care; includes abortion in the pregnancy-related safety-net coverage provided to Massachusetts residents ineligible for MassHealth coverage; ensures access to abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy in cases of fatal fetal diagnosis; reforms state law to remove inflammatory definitions and medically unnecessary restrictions; and codifies the principles of reproductive freedom into state law.”

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