Mass. House and Senate say they reached compromise on late-term abortion bill

The lawmakers’ proposal would continue to allow term abortions to preserve the life, physical or mental health of the patient.

The agreement did not include in the provision adopted by the House language that would authorize term abortions in cases of “serious” fetal anomalies.

The medical difference, Friedman said, is that the word “severe” is associated with a definitive list of conditions. “Extraordinary medical intervention,” on the other hand, means medical care that will not guarantee a positive outcome for a range of medical conditions.

She gave examples of babies born with missing parts of their brains, who can technically stay alive for a short time after birth, but would require “extraordinary medical intervention”.

“The idea is that women should be at the center of this decision,” Friedman told the Globe on Monday. “What we’ve learned is that many women are faced with this very, very traumatic decision . . . to give a life that can’t live outside of their wombs unless there’s intervention. extreme, out-of-this-world medical that wouldn’t make it better, it would just stop them breathing. Nobody should have to go through that.”

Negotiations on the sweeping abortion rights bill began July 18 after both houses quickly passed legislation following the Supreme Court’s overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade.

The final version of the bill, lawmakers said, includes language that would help protect providers from out-of-state lawsuits for legal procedures here, such as abortions and gender-affirming care, and make emergency contraception more readily available, among other changes. in response to last month’s ruling that allowed states to outright ban abortion for the first time in 49 years.

The final bill also makes emergency contraceptives such as Plan B available from vending machines and mandates the availability of medical abortion at public colleges and universities, lawmakers said.

“These efforts are just part of the work ahead to keep our Commonwealth open and welcoming to all, and the upcoming bill is evidence of our continued commitment to that work,” said Senate Speaker Karen E. Spilka, Speaker of the House, Ronald Mariano, and Chief Negotiators. Friedman and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz said in a statement.

The proposal is expected to go to the Senate for a vote on Tuesday or Wednesday, Spilka told reporters.

Once both houses presumably pass the compromise, it will be sent to Governor Charlie Baker.

Baker can then sign the bill, veto it, or send it back with changes, among other options. Baker objected to the part of a 2020 measure that allowed abortions after 24 weeks in cases of “fatal” fetal abnormality.

By leaving themselves so little time before the end of the legislative session on July 31, lawmakers effectively gave Baker the final say on the proposal.

Friedman and Spilka said Monday they weren’t too concerned about a governor’s veto because the language of 2020 was slightly different.

“I think the language is so good and so clear, I can’t imagine anyone would find a problem with it,” the Arlington Democrat said. ” I can not imagine. But you never know. I am not the governor.

This is breaking news that will be updated.

Matt Stout of Globe staff contributed to this report.

Samantha J. Gross can be contacted at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @samanthajgross.

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