The Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts (PPAF) and its partners and supporters are a powerful presence on Beacon Hill and in local communities, fighting for better access to reproductive health care, greater health equity, and access to comprehensive sex education for all people across Massachusetts.
Anticipating the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2022 ruling that struck down Roe v. Wade, PPAF’s legislative advocacy efforts intensified on Beacon Hill to strengthen abortion access in Massachusetts. Through work with the Beyond Roe Coalition, established by PPAF, Reproductive Equity Now, and the ACLU of Massachusetts, PPAF championed and successfully advocated for the passage of legislative health care measures. These measures include the codification of patient and provider protections, a requirement that insurance cover abortion and abortion-related care, ensuring that public colleges and universities provide medication abortion in campus health centers, and making prescription and over-the-counter emergency contraception more accessible and affordable. This further resulted in a comprehensive abortion access bill signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker in July, just weeks after the Dobbs decision, and inclusion of a first-ever line-item investment of $2 million for reproductive health facilities and abortion funds in the FY23 state budget.
Just the Facts
Throughout the Commonwealth, PPAF helped local leaders take action against false, deceptive advertising and misinformation regarding pregnancy-related care and abortion. Of particular concern is the threat posed by crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), or “fake abortion clinics,” which lure in patients with the promise of free or low-cost care, then present false, biased information designed to deter them from having abortions or using birth control. Currently, there are three times more CPCs than abortion providers in Massachusetts, representing a real threat to people in many communities. PPAF advised municipal council members, select boards, public health officials, and others about the dangers of CPCs and provided them with accurate information about sexual and reproductive health care. As a result, the city of Somerville passed an ordinance preventing institutions intending to perform pregnancy-related services from publicly engaging in false and deceptive advertising or distributing misinformation. With guidance from PPAF, other communities are considering similar actions.
Organizing for Change
Engaging with our youth is essential for us to see the change we need to ensure reproductive freedom. Across the Commonwealth, PPAF advised and provided resources to student groups at 12 colleges and universities that are part of the national network Planned Parenthood Generation Action. These groups harness the energy and enthusiasm of young people to fight for reproductive freedom, rights, and justice, and improve sexual health education and resources on their campuses. They raise awareness about sexual and reproductive health issues through events, letter and phone campaigns, social media, and other means. At some schools, students organized for specific changes, such as installing vending machines on campus to dispense emergency contraception and menstrual products (Boston University) and distribute safe sex supplies (Northeastern University). Many joined the successful PPAF campaign to pass legislation making medication abortion available at public colleges and university health centers.
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