Republican lawmakers file amendments to Massachusetts abortion plan; Dems vow fight

House Speaker Robert DeLeo has vowed to reject Gov. Charlie Baker’s attempts to “erode” a proposal to expand abortion access, prompting a pair of GOP lawmakers to file legislation of their own on an issue that has divided the House.
In a statement Tuesday afternoon, DeLeo announced plans to vote down Baker’s amendment, teeing up the possibility of a veto by the Republican governor who last week said he “cannot support” the Democrat-led Legislature’s efforts to lower the age of consent for abortions to 16 and greater allowance for late-term procedures.
“On Wednesday, the House will act to overturn the administration’s amendment, which sought to erode the reproductive health protections the Legislature last month voted to put in place for Massachusetts,” DeLeo said in a statement. “The House will vote in favor of safeguarding women’s reproductive rights in the Commonwealth at a time when they are under threat due to the new composition of the United States Supreme Court.”
NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts celebrated the play on Twitter, saying, “state lawmakers are showing true leadership in the face of anti-choice threats.”

But Republican lawmakers in the House came out with a new amendment that aims to guarantee life-saving medical treatment for any babies born alive — a point of contention over the amendment that allows for more access to late-term abortions.
Reps. Alyson Sullivan of Abington and Marc Lombardo of Billerica filed the measure in response to the attempt to add the abortion police rider onto the state budget. It will be debated in Wednesday’s session.
“I applaud Gov. Baker for expressing his opposition to certain provisions within the (Section 40) budget amendment and returning it to the Legislature,” said Sullivan. “I share Gov. Baker’s objections and concerns with allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to get an abortion without parental or guardian participation.”
House members passed an initial version of the abortion amendment in a 108-49 vote, barely mustering a veto-proof margin.
The Senate passed its version 33-7. Senate President Karen Spilka said she “remains firmly committed” to protecting reproductive freedoms and looks forward to “acting promptly” on the Governor’s amendment once the Senate receives it from the House.
Lawmakers are facing another fight with the Republican governor over a police reform bill Baker also returned last week with a series of amendments thwarting lawmakers’ attempts to limit the use of facial recognition technology and put police training under civilian control.

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