In response to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order Friday to protect access to reproductive health care services in Massachusetts.
“I am deeply disappointed in today’s decision by the Supreme Court which will have major consequences for women across the country who live in states with limited access to reproductive health care services. The Commonwealth has long been a leader in protecting a woman’s right to choose and access to reproductive health services, while other states have criminalized or otherwise restricted access,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “This executive order will further preserve that right and protect reproductive health care providers who serve out of state residents. In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v Wade, it is especially important to ensure that Massachusetts providers can continue to provide reproductive health care services without concern that the laws of other states may be used to interfere with those services or sanction them for providing services that are lawful in the Commonwealth.”
“We are proud of the Commonwealth’s history of ensuring access to reproductive health care, and will continue to do so, despite today’s ruling from the Supreme Court,” Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito added. “With these actions, Massachusetts is once again leading the way in protecting a woman’s right to choose.”
Baker's order would protect providers who perform these services for out-of-state individuals as well as individuals from out of state who seek services that are legal in Massachusetts. It also prohibits Executive Department agencies from assisting another state’s investigation into a person or entity for receiving or delivering reproductive health services that are allowed in Massachusetts.
The order protects Massachusetts providers who deliver reproductive health care services from losing their professional licenses or receiving other professional discipline based on potential out of state charges.
Under the executive order, the state will also not cooperate with extradition requests from other states pursuing criminal charges against individuals who received, assisted with, or performed reproductive health services that are legal in Massachusetts.
Baker wasn't the only New England governor to react to Friday's Supreme Court decision. Here's what others had to say:
Maine Gov. Janet Mills
Maine Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade:
“This decision is a fundamental assault on women’s rights and on reproductive freedom that will do nothing to stop abortion. In fact, it will only make abortion less safe and jeopardize the lives of women across the nation. In Maine, I will defend the right to reproductive health care with everything I have, and I pledge to the people of Maine that, so long as I am Governor, my veto pen will stand in the way of any effort to undermine, rollback, or outright eliminate the right to safe and legal abortion in Maine.”
Under Mills’ leadership, Maine has expanded access to reproductive health services. The governor, in collaboration with the Legislature, enacted a law allowing physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses to perform abortions. She also signed legislation to require private and public insurance providers to cover abortion care.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, issued the following statement after the United States Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade:
“Regardless of this Supreme Court decision, access to these services will continue to remain safe, accessible, and legal in New Hampshire."
Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee
Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee, a Democrat, issued the following statement on the Supreme Court's ruling in the Dobbs case:
“Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for almost 50 years. Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a travesty, full stop."
"Here in Rhode Island, we will always support a woman’s right to choose. Despite today’s ruling, Rhode Islanders still have the right to access abortion health care services in our state thanks to the General Assembly codifying these protections into law – but all people should have the ability to make their own reproductive health care decisions, no matter where they live."
"Make no mistake about it: today’s Supreme Court decision will not stop abortions. It will only make them less safe. It’s time for Congress to act and support a woman’s right to choose, just like Rhode Island has done.”
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision:
“Today’s Supreme Court decision drastically oversteps the constitutional right for Americans to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions without government interference. Decisions on reproductive healthcare should only be made between a patient and their doctor without the interference of politicians. This ruling will not only result in a patchwork of unequal laws among the states, but more importantly it will result in dangerous and life-threatening situations similar to what this country witnessed countless times in the era prior to the landmark Roe case in which women died or were left severely injured because they could not access the medical care that they should have every right to access on their own."
“I am grateful to live in Connecticut, where our laws make it clear that women have a right to choose. As long as I am governor, reproductive rights will be protected in Connecticut and I will do everything in my power to block laws from being passed that restrict those rights.”
In May, Lamont signed a law that protects medical providers and patients seeking abortion care in Connecticut who may be traveling from other states that have outlawed abortion. The law also expands abortion access in Connecticut by expanding the type of practitioners eligible to perform certain abortion-related care.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, issued the following statement Friday: