Expanded Abortion, Gender Care Provider Protections Head to Charlie Baker’s Desk

The Legislature passed a compromise version of the reproductive and gender-affirming care protection bill on Tuesday that faces a questionable state-choice but potential veto by the Republican governor.

“I’m hoping it’s something we’ll be able to support,” Baker told reporters in his office Tuesday. “I don’t like to get ahead of the legislature.”

The bill passed the House 137-16 and the Senate 39-1 and would bar out-of-state laws from out-of-state laws restricting abortion and gender-confirmation care providers from practicing medicine and providing care. Will protect incoming patients.

The bill would also bar law enforcement agencies from complying with out-of-state requests for extradition or investigations related to gender confirmation or reproductive care.

Fears of Baker’s veto should have caused lawmakers to rush, but last week House Speaker Ron Mariano and other legislative leaders acknowledged that they are running out of time to act on any of the governor’s bills. Signatures can be easily handled by stopping.

Baker is pro-choice — he’s said so himself several times — but he had reservations even when the state’s Roe Act Passed in 2020 because of language related to abortion after 24 weeks.

That kind of language made it into the compromised version of the bill the House passed Tuesday.

According to the bill, abortion after 24 weeks is permitted to preserve the patient’s life or the patient’s physical or mental health, because of a fatal fetal anomaly, or “a serious fetal diagnosis indicating does that the fetus is not compatible with sustainable life outside the womb. without extraordinary medical intervention.”

The move to expand protections for care providers and patients comes after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June to strike down constitutional protections for abortion granted by the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade.

“In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn nearly 50 years of judicial precedent and overturn Roe v. Wade, and as states across the country continue to restrict access to abortion, Massachusetts is a national leader. will continue to serve and protect reproductive rights.” House Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate Pres. Karen Spilka said in a joint release Monday.

Health care advocates applauded lawmakers’ action Tuesday.

“The overturning of Roe v. Wade was a direct attack on a person’s fundamental right to make decisions about their own body. In response, the Legislature’s passage of the Reproductive Rights and Gender Affirmation Bill guaranteed that A bold step to ensure Massachusetts residents have access to all the health care services they need, including reproductive care, abortion, and sexual-health care services. Amy Rosenthal, executive director of Healthcare for All, said after the vote.

Baker is supposed to have 10 days to consider any bill.

The Legislature will stop being in formal session later this week, though they will likely work late on both days over the weekend to finish what’s left.