Massachusetts Considers Deeply Troubling Abortion Legislation

Massachusetts lawmakers may soon consider legislation seeking to expand access to abortion. The Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, whose United States province is headquartered at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, request your prayers that the culture of life will prevail here in our home state.

Please pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy that Massachusetts lawmakers and citizens come to understand the truth about abortion - that the killing of innocent life constitutes a grave evil that must be stopped.

The Massachusetts State Legislature will consider passage of two similar bills. The first (HB 3320) is known as "An Act removing obstacles and expanding access to women's reproductive health." The second (SB 1209) is known as "An Act to remove obstacles and expand abortion access." The bills share the acronym: ROE (meaning, Remove, Obstacles, Expand).

Both bills were referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. The Joint Committee has scheduled a hearing on the bills for 1 p.m. on Monday, June 17.

Among the goals of the legislation are to:

• eliminate the requirement that a minor under the age of 18 have the consent of a parent, guardian, or the courts;

• allow abortions later in a pregnancy when deemed "necessary to protect the patient's life or physical or mental health, or in cases of lethal fetal anomalies, or where the fetus is incompatible with sustained life outside the uterus." (Current law allows abortion after 24 weeks only when the health or life of the mother is at risk.);

• eliminate the requirement that provides medical care to a child who survives an abortion attempt;

• remove a requirement in state law that abortions after 24 weeks be performed in a hospital; and

• expand state funding of abortions for women not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid whose private health insurance plans don't cover abortion.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley, archbishop of Boston, and Massachusetts' three other bishops, have issued a statement calling the proposed bills "deeply troubling" and an "egregious attack on human life." The statement says, in part:

In addition to aborting infants with fetal anomalies or where the fetus is incompatible with sustained life outside of the uterus, it allows physicians to perform abortions up until birth for a myriad of undefined reasons (ie: physical, emotional, psychological, familial, age) to protect a woman's life, physical health or mental health. The result would become abortion on demand for the full term of pregnancy.

The Catholic Church has always upheld the dignity of human life and spoken out against abortion at all stages of pregnancy. As Bishops we are encouraged by the most recent statistics which clearly indicate that the rate of abortions in both this state and across the country has significantly decreased over the past 40 years. In fact, the rates today are 50% lower than the rates in 1980. However, at a time when the overall number of abortions have decreased, society cannot now accept such an egregious attack on human life as these bills would provide.

Therefore, we, the Roman Catholic Bishops of the four Dioceses of Massachusetts, call on our elected officials to carefully consider the consequences that these bills would bring to the lives of infants, parents, families and the citizens of the Commonwealth. We urge all people of good will, regardless of what faith they practice, to vigorously oppose these extreme measures.

Again, let us turn to the prayer that Jesus gave to the world through St. Faustina: the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

Saint Faustina, pray for us.


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