As we gain momentum this Spring towards encounter with the most extreme abortion laws in our history, the proposal to amend our State Constitution to remove tax-payer funding for abortion is timely, practical, and necessary. The memorandum that follows explores and explains exactly why we can and should secure signatures this Fall.
The current provisions added to our constitutions effectively make abortion a right of our most vulnerable women, victimizing them, and unjustly forcing citizens to pay for the killing of their unborn children. We're privileged to be working with Pro-Life Legal Defense, and Tom Harvey, Esq. on this campaign.
Proposal for State Constitutional Amendment
Tom Harvey, Esq.
Ever since a Supreme Judicial Court decision in 2001, Massachusetts taxpayers have been paying for many abortions. Even though the word “abortion” is not found in the Massachusetts Constitution, that court essentially ruled that the constitution requires that indigent women have a right to have an abortions paid for by you, the taxpayers.
Since taxpayer funded abortion has been found to be a constitutional right, it has not been a matter for legislative consideration. Consequently, abortion and its public funding have not been the subject of political debate in this state. [ In other words, we, the citizens, have no say in this matter until we amend the state constitution. ] Thus, even though national polls show that the public is overwhelmingly opposed to taxpayer funding of abortion, it has not been a matter of discussion in Massachusetts for the past thirty years.
If Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, it will have no effect in Massachusetts. Abortion will continue to be legal and will continue to be funded by the taxpayers pursuant to the state constitution.
The sole remedy for this situation is to amend the state constitution pursuant to the initiative petition process. The amendment would state: NOTHING IN THIS CONSTITUTION REQUIRES THE PUBLIC FUNDING OF ABORTION.
If this amendment succeeds, it would not immediately stop the public funding of abortion in Massachusetts. That would not yet be politically possible. But it would set the table so that taxpayer funded abortions could be stopped if the majority of the legislature were pro-life. Also of significance: the effort alone of amending the constitution would spark political discussion on the subject of taxpayer funded abortions [ and increase awareness of the injustice of forcing citizens to pay for the killing of our unborn members of society]. And no change in the law will ever occur unless people first start talking about a topic.
Amending the constitution is a four step procedure:
First, in the fall of 2019, 80,239 certified signatures must be obtained.
Second, ¼ of the present legislature must vote to advance the amendment.
Third, ¼ of the next elected legislature must vote to advance it.
And finally, it would need to be placed on the ballot in the 2022 state election where a majority must vote to pass its provisions.
According to the constitution’s initiative petition procedure, the first step, collecting the 80,239 certified signatures, must occur in an approximate two month window of time – from mid-September to November 20, 2019. In actuality, because so many signatures will likely be invalidated for various reasons, over 100,000 signatures will have to be obtained.
The massive mobilization of volunteers will work in conjunction with the upcoming effort to defeat the Legislature’s ROE Act, which will not only fund abortion, but radically promote it, in Massachusetts.