Massachusetts could become a national leader in abortion access, according to Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Maura Healey.
“Massachusetts recognizes abortion access as a constitutional right and it’s now enshrined in law, thank goodness,” Healey said during an appearance on GBH’s Boston Public Radio on Friday. “And right now in our country, what Massachusetts needs to do is help other states, because within three weeks – from when [Supreme Court] decision is made — at three months, we will cut access to abortion to more than half of women in the United States of America. And what that means is that more women will become in states like Massachusetts.
Abortion has been at the forefront of national politics in recent weeks with the threat of the Supreme Court overturning Roe Vs. Wade.
As Healey noted, despite what happens at the federal level, abortion will remain legal in Massachusetts. She said more women are likely to come to the Bay State for an abortion because many states have what she calls “trigger bans,” meaning the ability to have an abortion in some states will disappear soon after the decision is published.
It will also likely be more difficult to get an appointment for an abortion, Healey said.
Massachusetts must be able to protect providers from lawsuits, she noted, because some states allow private residents to investigate those who perform or assist someone with an abortion.
More suppliers are also needed, she said.
“This is all really important, and I want to send the message now,” Healey said. “It is really important that Massachusetts steps in at this time and makes sure that we are on the verge of being an auxiliary state both for the good of the patients here, the patients who will come here, and also the patients who will go to other states where abortion is legal, which are going to be very overcrowded in the coming times.
Healey also pointed to the economic repercussions of restricting abortion. She said the economy is losing billions of dollars a year due to abortion laws and about 500,000 women are out of work due to restrictive legislation. The Attorney General also pointed out that women who are denied abortions are more likely to be deported, file for bankruptcy and be given tax privileges.
“You can respect religious freedom, you can respect an individual’s decision to decide for themselves what they want to do, but in this country we also have certain freedoms, and we have to be a place that recognizes and respects a woman’s freedom to make her own decision about her own body,” Healey said.
Abortion restrictions “drive women out of the workforce,” Healey said, adding that they are more likely to drop out of school and less likely to stay in the workforce.
“You’re going to have families, women who already have children who are going to be pushed further into poverty as a result,” she said. “So I’m crazy about that. I’m really angry about this, because it’s about a loss of power, a further marginalization of women. And of course the most affected women are women of color, but that’s where we are right now.
Watch Healey’s full appearance on the program below:
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