Watch CBS News

How Would The Supreme Court Overturning Roe V. Wade Affect Massachusetts Abortion Rights?

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Supreme Court looks poised to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that secured abortion rights for Americans, according to a draft opinion obtained and published by Politico. With a ruling expected to be issued in the coming weeks, many Massachusetts residents may be wondering what impact the court's reversal on abortion rights could have on them.

As CBS News chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford explained Tuesday morning, overturning Roe would pave the way for states to make their own decisions on abortion rights.

"The issue goes back to the states and to the elected representatives, so you would have different states with different laws," she said on CBS Mornings. "Some would allow abortion and some would restrict it. In fact, states are already laying the groundwork for some of these laws."

There are 13 states that have passed "trigger laws" to ban or greatly restrict abortion automatically upon Roe's termination, Crawford said. However there are 16 states, including Massachusetts, that have signaled they will continue to allow abortion and have laws on the book that would protect abortion rights.

Massachusetts lawmakers took action on abortion rights at the end of 2020, when Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, appointed by former President Donald Trump, took the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Legislature passed the "ROE Act," codifying abortion rights into state law.

The legislation expanded access to abortion rights in Massachusetts. It allows 16-and-17-year-olds to get abortions without consent from their parents or a judge, and permits abortion after 24 weeks if a doctor determines there is a "lethal fetal anomaly," or if it's necessary to preserve the physical or mental health of the patient.

abortion rights protest massachusetts state house
Jane Marcus of Medford chants during a rally held outside of the Massachusetts State House in Boston to protest restrictive abortion laws passed in several states on May 21, 2019. (Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The CEO of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts said the state is a proven leader in protecting abortion rights.

"We knew this decision was likely coming, but today it is just a draft decision — Abortion is still legal here in Massachusetts and across the country," Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak said in a statement.

Attorney General Maura Healey, who is running for governor, tweeted that "we will keep defending the right to basic health care."

"Abortion is a fundamental human right," she said. "Massachusetts has codified abortion access, Congress must do the same."

Gov. Charlie Baker said that overturning Roe "would be a massive setback for women in states without responsible laws protecting abortion access and reproductive health services."

"I am proud to support every woman's right to choose and I am proud that MA has and will always protect every woman's right to choose what is best for them," he tweeted.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.