July 29, 2022
H. 5090, An Act Expanding Protections for Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Care, is now law in Massachusetts. It provides critical protections for access to reproductive health care, including abortion care, and essential healthcare for transgender people, including for individuals who may travel from out-of-state to seek care in the Commonwealth.
H. 5090 was championed by leaders in both the House and Senate, including Senator Cindy Friendman, Representative Aaron Michlewitz, House Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka. Governor Baker signed the measure on Friday.
The Act protects providers and patients of reproductive health care and established, evidence-based healthcare for transgender people from malicious out-of-state legal action. It also inscribes in statute that access to reproductive health care and to gender affirming care are rights secured by the laws and constitution of Massachusetts.
House and Senate leadership took swift action to address the impact of the June 24 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health which obliterated the half-century old precedent established in Roe v. Wade protecting access to abortion. A growing number of states are now moving to ban abortion within their borders, and some may seek to impose penalties on anyone traveling out-of-state for care as well as on out-of-state providers.
Members of the LGBTQ community require reproductive healthcare including abortion at least as frequently as non-LGBTQ women, and access is a critical LGBTQ issue. At the same time, the forces seeking to undermine reproductive freedom are also working in multiple states to criminalize parents and doctors for providing medically necessary care for transgender youth. Four states have enacted such bans to date, and additional bills are anticipated in the next legislative session.
Polly Crozier, GLAD Senior Staff Attorney, who worked with the Beyond Roe Coalition, the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Office of the Attorney General, and legislative leaders in support of H 5090, said:
“As states across the country seek to block and even criminalize access to abortion care and lifesaving healthcare for transgender youth, we thank the Massachusetts legislature for quickly moving to establish critical protections for patients and providers. Parents across the country bring their transgender children to Massachusetts to receive quality individualized, interdisciplinary care. With state legislatures passing unprincipled laws restricting the ability of parents to care for their children and putting transgender young people in harm’s way, it’s incredibly powerful to have Massachusetts state unequivocally that access to evidence-based gender-affirming healthcare is a right. This Act cements the state’s role as a leader in providing access to essential healthcare, including access to abortion and lifesaving care for transgender people.”