The decision about whether to terminate a pregnancy is the most personal choice a woman can make. As a member of the Massachusetts Legislature, I consider it my responsibility to ensure that women across the Commonwealth have access to safe, affordable reproductive services and that young people have adequate information to make healthy choices about their reproductive lives.
Although Roe v. Wade was decided 35 yeas ago, a debate regarding women's bodies has again emerged as anti-choice advocates try to chip away at reproductive services. Some states have even passed abortion bans in case Roe v. Wade is overturned. I support a woman's full right to access abortion services. I support legislation that would repeal the unconstitutional pre-Roe v. Wade abortion ban in Massachusetts. I am opposed to mandatory waiting periods and so-called "informed consent" legislation before a woman can obtain an abortion.
The decision to terminate a pregnancy is typically made in the first trimester, when a woman learns she is pregnant. However there are cases where the health, safety, and/or life of the pregnant woman is jeopardized by carrying the pregnancy to full term. In these, and only these cases, I support late term abortions. I do not believe in a ban on so-called "partial birth abortions," as there is no such medical term. Physicians must have the medical authority to determine which procedure is best for each case with the least amount of risk to the patient.
All young people must be equipped with knowledge and tools necessary to make smart decisions. A recent study showed that among the Massachusetts high school students surveyed, 45 percent have engaged in sexual intercourse. This data demonstrates the enormous need for young people to have comprehensive, accurate information so that they do not engage in health-endangering behaviors. I am concerned about the high levels of teen sexuality and support the teaching of abstinence and birth control to minors, but do not support "abstinence-only" programs. I am a sponsor of legislation to require comprehensive, age-appropriate, health education in public schools.
An important part of making smart decisions is a person's access to birth control. Contraception must be made available and affordable to all. I took an active role in expanding the health insurance for public employees so that contraception is a covered expense. I supported allowing pharmacists to dispense emergency contraception without a prescription prior to the FDA making Plan B over the counter. I am against allowing pharmacies to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control. Women should be able to go to their neighborhood drug store and fill their prescription without being lectured or denied their pills.
I believe in the right to free speech, as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. I also believe that women have a right to access health services without fear or threat of bodily harm. As a reproductive health clinic volunteer, I witnessed the results of the murder of workers at the Boston Planned Parenthood site. This is why I supported the law creating a buffer zone around reproductive health clinics and was a sponsor of the new expanded buffer zone law.