Boston, US | July 12
Anticipating renewed fights over abortion, some governors and state lawmakers already are searching for ways to enhance or dismantle the right in their constitutions and laws.
President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court has raised the possibility that a conservative court majority could weaken or overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which created a nationwide right to abortion. That could fan an already raging battle in states over what should and should not be legal.
While a complete reversal of Roe remains a longshot, some Democratic elected officials want to enact new abortion protections and repeal dormant laws that criminalize abortion. While those laws have been ignored for decades, some stretching back to the 19th century, Democrats want to erase them so they cannot be revived in the future.
“As long as they are enshrined in statute, they can be picked up and used by people who do not feel the same way about women and their bodies that I would say most people in this state feel,” said Massachusetts state Senate President Harriette Chandler, a Democrat.
Chandler is pushing to repeal an abortion ban from the 1800s that has remained unenforced, in part because of a 1981 state court ruling protecting access to abortion.
The Massachusetts Senate approved the bill unanimously in January.
The House speaker, also a Democrat, said that chamber will take it up before the end of the formal legislative session July 31.
In New York, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been holding rallies after Kavanaugh’s nomination this week urging the state Senate to reconvene. He wants it to strengthen the right to an abortion, a seemingly unlikely event in the Republican-led chamber.