Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a pro-abortion Republican, signed the “NASTY Woman Act” into law Friday. The legislation repeals a 173-year-old law banning abortion in the state.
The bill’s proponents argue that it is necessary just in case Roe v. Wade is overturned so that the state is not able to enforce that law again.
The NASTY Woman Act – short for Negating Archaic Statutes Targeting Young Women – also repealed other laws that have gone enforced for generations, including bans on adultery and restrictions on contraception.
Critics argue that the bill is unnecessary, since these older laws are largely moot due to a 1981 ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that upheld a right to abortion access.
Gov. Baker was joined at the signing by abortion advocates and Democratic lawmakers.
He said Massachusetts ‘‘will not compromise on a woman’s right to her own decisions.’’
“Today, we formally repeal a number of antiquated laws, some of which could lead to denying young women reproductive health care,” he tweeted. “These laws do not represent Massachusetts’ leadership on these issues or the shared goal of protecting women's access to health care.”
The Republican governor has long been an advocate of abortion and contraception, Last November, he signed a law requiring the state’s insurers to cover birth control without a copay that included only a narrow exemption for churches and religious institutions who might object on religious grounds.
The law went even farther than the Obamacare contraceptive mandate as it requires insurers to pay for a full year’s supply of prescription birth control pills after a three-month trial period. Insurers typically cover only one or three months supply at a time.
Planned Parenthood touted Massachusetts as a model for other states on reproductive issues following that bill’s signing.