BOSTON — The Republican governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, who supports the so-called “right” to abortion, has vetoed abortion legislation that would have allowed minors ages 16 and 17 to end the life of their unborn child without their parents’ consent.
“As I said in my amendment letter, I strongly support a woman’s right to access reproductive health care and many provisions of this bill,” Baker remarked in a statement. “However, I cannot support the sections of this proposal that expand the availability of later-term abortions and permit minors age 16 and 17 to get an abortion without the consent of a parent or guardian.”
As previously reported, last month, lawmakers in Massachusetts passed an amendment attached to a budget bill that would essentially allow abortion up to birth for “fatal fetal anomalies” and lower the age of parental consent from under 18 to under 16.
According to text on the legislature website, the amendment permits abortion after 24 weeks when “in the best medical judgment of the physician, an abortion is warranted because of a lethal fetal anomaly that is incompatible with sustained life outside the uterus.”
It permits nurse practitioners, physicians assistants and midwives to perform abortions and states that abortive mothers under 16 must obtain consent from one parent (or can go to the courts if that is not possible), and “in deciding whether to grant such consent, a patient’s parent shall consider only the patient’s best interests.” Those 16 and up would not be required to obtain parental permission.
The amendment passed in the Massachusetts House of Representatives on Nov. 12 by a vote of 108-49, followed by a 33-7 vote in the Senate on Nov. 18.
All four Republicans in the Senate voted against the amendment, and on Dec. 11, Baker presented his own version of the legislation that would eliminate the provisions with which he was uncomfortable.
According to the Boston Globe, both houses of the legislature rejected Baker’s changes and voted to retain the original language.
“Getting ready to vote down @MassGovernor amendment that will deny 16-year-olds the right to independently choose an #abortion,” tweeted lawmaker Marjorie Decker, D-Cambridge. “Let’s be clear; there is no age on prenatal care for young women girls needing #parentalconsent.”
The Globe reports that House Speaker Robert DeLeo, D-Winthrop, will seek to override Baker’s veto and pass the original text. Democrats even blasted Baker for “cav[ing] to the extreme right wing” by rejecting the legislation as written.
“Hoping that we would all be too busy to notice, Charlie Baker once again caved in to the extreme right-wing of his Republican Party by vetoing critical abortion access provisions that would put our laws in line with neighboring states like Maine, New York and Connecticut,” Gus Bickford, the chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, said in a statement.
Opponents of the bill have remarked, however, that it is rather the legislation that is extreme.
“For any sane parent, the prospect of a 16 year-old daughter getting an abortion without her mom or dad ever knowing is horrifying,” the Massachusetts Family Institute, led by president Andrew Beckwith, said in a blog post about the matter.
“It’s actually appalling to see that our legislators believe 16 year-olds have a ‘right to independently choose an #abortion,'” Beckwith said. “I’ve also seen legislators make the argument that since girls can be sexually active at 16 (the age of consent for sex in Massachusetts is 16), that they need the right to get an abortion at that age as well.”
“In fact, an earlier version of the [bill] eliminated ANY minimum age for abortions without parental consent! So, yes, the slippery slope is very real. And, in Massachusetts, it’s quite steep and rather icy.”
As previously reported, in early America, Christians were staunchly against abortion for any reason, seeing the shedding of innocent blood (Proverbs 6:16-17) and the discontinuance of a life created and given by God as murder.
In his 1869 sermon entitled “Ante-Natal Infanticide,” E. Frank Howe, the pastor of the Congregational Church of Terre Haute, Indiana, said, “[I]t makes no matter that the victim cannot stretch out its hands in defense. … It matters not that it … can utter no cry of pain or reproach. The sacred gift of human life is taken — is deliberately taken, and this constitutes the crime, and that crime is murder.”
He lamented that “men and women place their own ease and pleasure above God’s law” and that “public opinion is so corrupted there is no voice of reproach,” forthrightly declaring, “Put what face upon it the community will, disguise it under whatever name you please, you can make no more or less of it than simple murder.”
In 1896, Dr. William McCollom lamented that even in his day, mothers would “unblushingly apply to the physician and to the druggist for medicine to abort [their] pregnancy.”
“Great ignorance of the criminality of the practice is manifested by educated women, but it is not ignorance alone but a downright lack of moral sense as well, which greatly needs educating,” he said, urging doctors to speak out.
McCollom expressed concern that pastors were seemingly not lifting their voice on the issue of abortion as he saw that the practice was both prevalent among the unsaved and “on the increase among professed Christian women.”
“Let us do our duty, if our spiritual advisors neglect to do this, in denouncing this common crime and great sin,” he wrote in addressing his fellow physicians.
“The field for missionary work is a large one and should be faithfully worked, both by the conscientious physician and the Protestant Christian clergy, who perhaps fully understand the enormity of the sin if they do not know how prevalent it is,” McCollom said. “It is not a pleasant subject to discuss before a mixed audience. Young women could be reached, instructed and warned by a properly published circular or tract sent to them by Christian organizations at intervals.”
Scripture, in addition to speaking on the value of the unborn, also repeatedly addresses the precursor sin of fornication, teaching in 1 Corinthians 6:13, “Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 exhorts, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication, that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor — not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God.”
Verses 7-8 add, “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man but God, who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit.”
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