What the "R.O.E" Act Will Look Like In Practice


By C.J. Williams, Director of Community Engagement, MCFL

I returned from the Let There Be Life Conference in California with more information than my heart or head could properly organize.

Much like the citizens of Massachusetts, Californians face an abortion-business extremism that is well beyond pro-choice. Laws proposed in the California legislature mirror the "ROE Act" (and newly introduced Bill H.3841, which would force our public universities to include abortion centers offering chemical terminations on their campuses). These bills abandon even the appearance of seeking women’s safety, and push abortion for any reason, at any stage, in any circumstance. These proposals brazenly remove medical standards of care for the abortion-minded mother, putting abortion promotion before her safety.*

California’s pro-abortion university bill inspired the introduction of HB 3841 here. Even my Planned Parenthood-supporting friends have wondered aloud to me why chemical abortions should be forced onto university health centers, when abortion access is so open in both Massachusetts and California--and the proposed laws make abortion more available but less safe.

Just in summary, these pieces of legislation:

--prioritize access over safety*;

--expand and promote abortion businesses but disempower doctors*;

--target viable preborn children; and

--target underage girls and young adults on college campuses*.

If the governor signs the legislation, California will force its public universities to provide chemical abortions on-site to their students. We in Massachusetts don’t yet have these laws on our books. The Committee on the Judiciary has recently informed me they are still taking testimony on the ROE Act (as is the Committee on Public Health for HB 3841, the chemical-abortion bill). The ROE Act, if passed, would remove all adult supervision and protection for a 12- or 13-year old girl seeking an abortion, as well as removing any requirement that grisly, multi-day late-term abortion procedures be performed in a qualified hospital. HB 3841 would require our publicly funded universities to institutionalize abortion centers on their campuses.

Court cases and emergency records in states with laws that remove these basic medical standards and abortion regulations show that countless women per year are maimed or killed by abortionists.*

During the conference, attendees also held a protest at the University of San Francisco. Well-known for its cutting-edge technology programs and medical track, UCSF is less well-known as the premiere late-term abortion training school in the nation. Doctors training there learn to perform abortions by aborting: they dismember human beings in-utero, and the organs of those individuals are then sold for a profit to medical researchers. Neither mother nor child gives consent in this scenario.

I joined other conference-goers outside the  university chancellor’s window to expose the heinous human rights abuse.

“How can you have a medical school training late-term abortionists with the specific goal of harvesting human body parts? How many kinds of wrong can you go?” A girl named Ana asked me, as we held signs next to a young man in a mouse costume. (His sign: Don’t experiment on me and don’t experiment on BABIES.)

Loud and clear, even to passers-by, this event showed that we are no longer in a landscape divided at pro-life / pro-choice. Even the pro-choice students who wandered over to ask what we were protesting expressed horror at the flagrant disregard for human dignity.

What was the most valuable takeaway in all of this for Massachusetts?

It gave me a vivid view of what our state will look like for women if the “R.O.E.” Act is passed. 

S.1209 (“R.O.E.”) will no not require basic medical standards of safety for the women having the 3 to 4 day late-term abortion procedure. These grisly labor-and-delivery-of-a-dead-child surgeries will be performed outside of hospitals under “R.O.E.” 

I encountered a firsthand witness to the fallout of these policies in San Francisco. He is an attorney, whose client is the mother of Keisha, a woman who waited over 17 hours for proper medical care after her late-term abortion left baby parts in her womb. She ultimately died of sepsis -- and the incredible negligence of so-called women’s healthcare providers in outpatient abortion facilities.

This attorney is currently prosecuting the abortion doctors and outpatient abortion facilities in New Mexico for over 17 women’s deaths and countless injuries because of the gross negligence of their laws -- which right now do exactly what “R.O.E.” would do here -- has countless other incidents documented as well.

This event, and these facts are critical to your communication with your legislator, and the Joint Committee on the Judiciary (find their contact information here and submit your testimony to Chair Claire Cronin).

My pro-choice friends and I agree: The "ROE" Act is no ROE v. Wade. Where the Supreme Court decision recognizes a state interest in the life of a viable child, and (after the first trimester) recognizes a state interest in seeing that abortions are given the same attention as other surgeries (at least), the ROE Act would remove the current hedges separating “legal” abortion from an actual back-alley abortion.

So why are legislators and pro-abortion lobbies pushing this in Massachusetts?

An attorney in New Mexico dealing with the human fallout from late-term abortion cases there pulled these key points for us as we scrolled through page upon page of emergency assistance calls and death statements from non-hospital abortion facilities:

 

-- Outpatient clinics reduce overhead by reducing life-saving medical equipment.

-- Outpatient clinics do not need to have a doctor perform the procedure (or one with hospital privileges).

-- Outpatient clinics do not hold patients for monitoring as hospitals do.

-- Outpatient clinics send women home carrying a dead or dying full-term baby, effectively leaving her at risk for sepsis, hemorrhage, etc., with no medical attention near to hand

 

No matter what end of the ideological spectrum we stand on, we can unite to oppose privileging ease of access over safety, risky abortion over healthcare, and profit over people’s lives, dignity, and well-being. Share these facts with the Joint Committees, and your family and friends -- pro-life or pro-choice.

San Francisco has a political climate similar to Massachusetts in some ways. New Mexico has an abortion extremism that could be Massachusetts in a few years. 

They both have dead children being sold for their body parts, and women dying too often from reduction in the medical standards of care.

Let’s learn from both: Massachusetts citizens, get out there and lobby the Joint Committee on the Judiciary against the ROE Act. This isn’t about abortion access or removal of access, as ROE Act proponents have tried to say. It is about removal of care, safety, and a pushing for profit from organizations that make money on procedures that hurt women, and kill preborn people.



*SB 24 (CA) would require campus health services at all 34 public campuses throughout the state — 11 under the University of California system and 23 under the California State system -- to make available "abortion by medication techniques," which involves a regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol.

 

*The ROE Act would remove the requirement that a doctor have life-supporting medical equipment on-hand for both humans involved in an abortion. This bill even eliminates language recognizing that a woman and child are the relevant patients in an abortion.

 

*New Mexico is a case in point. You can read testimony from expert late-term abortionists from the ongoing court case in Albuquerque, wherein over 25 women are recorded dead from outpatient late-term abortions.


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