The Massachusetts Senate has unanimously approved a bill aimed at eliminating several antiquated state laws still on the books.
Among the laws that would be eliminated by the bill are a ban on unmarried people having access to contraception; a ban on distributing information about how to access contraception or abortions; and a law which would punish pharmacists, doctors and other health care providers for distributing contraception or performing an abortion.
The bill would eliminate a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for "procuring a miscarriage" — aimed at clinicians who provide abortions.
An amendment to the bill would also eliminate a ban on adultery and "fornication."
Abortion rights groups praised the bill, arguing the laws are outdated and unenforceable.
In response to the Senate's vote, Rebecca Hart Holder, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, released a statement:
"In a time when reproductive freedom is under attack at the federal level, Massachusetts must do all we can to ensure access to contraception, and to safe, legal abortion. These statutes, long-since overturned in state and federal courts and currently unenforceable, have no business remaining in our General Laws. With this vote, the State Senate reinforces what we already know — any threat to contraception and abortion access is not a Massachusetts value. We urge the House of Representatives to take up this legislation as soon as possible to ensure that, even if Roe v. Wade were overturned tomorrow, the reproductive freedom of the people of Massachusetts would be unequivocally protected."
The bill now heads to the Massachusetts House.