Encouraging Bold Policy Moves
Massachusetts lawmakers responded to calls from PPAF and our Beyond Roe Coalition partners for greater provider protections and investment in abortion access with a strong shield law protecting providers of abortion and gender-affirming care from hostile legal action. They also provided funding in the state budget for abortion funds and providers, support to bulk-order mifepristone, and passed a new law that allows patients under 18 to access PrEP, an essential form of care to prevent the spread of HIV, without parental involvement. Governor Maura Healey later signed an executive order clarifying that the shield law covers mifepristone and other abortion medications.
The legislature also invested $16.5 million to create grants for providers who offer the full spectrum of reproductive health care; cover clinics’ security and infrastructure costs; provide funding for hiring, training, and retaining clinic providers and employees; and funding informational materials for clinics to educate patients on their reproductive health care options. Additionally, Governor Maura Healey allocated $1 million for a public education campaign to educate people about crisis pregnancy centers’ lack of medical services and share information to ensure people know where they can access legitimate medical and family planning services in the Commonwealth.
Forming Lasting Connections
PPAF welcomed nine state representatives including several members of House leadership – namely Representatives Ruth Balser, Kate Hogan, Kevin Honan, Frank Moran, Mike Moran, Jim O’Day, Sarah Peake, and Alice Peisch -- to tour PPLM's Boston health center and discuss reproductive health care access in Massachusetts.
Student organizers from eight colleges and universities across Massachusetts – Williams College, Wellesley College, Suffolk University, Smith College, Northeastern University, Mount Holyoke College, Boston University, and Boston College – took part in PPAF’s Generation Action Summit 2023. Topics covered included student organizing on college campuses, legislative process and advocacy, intergenerational student leadership, and cross-movement organizing.
Advocating for People-Centric Policies
PPAF put forth a bold policy agenda for the 2023-2024 legislative session with three objectives: improving patient care and maternal health outcomes, expanding access to abortion and other sexual and reproductive health care, and eliminating systemic and racial inequities so that all Massachusetts residents can lead healthy lives and grow and raise their families when, and how, they choose. To push for passage of its priority bills PPAF joined the Common Start Coalition lobby day at the State House to advocate for high-quality early education and affordable universal childcare for all Massachusetts families.
PPAF also assembled a cadre of experts, providers, and patients to testify in support of several bills, namely An Act Relative to Telehealth and Digital Equity for Patients (S.655/H.986), to stress the importance of telehealth as an essential tool in helping patients more easily access sexual and reproductive health care; An Act Relative to Hormonal Contraceptives (S.1430 | H.2133), advocating for allowing pharmacists to prescribe and dispense self-administered hormonal birth control; and the Location Shield Act (S.148 | H.357), asking the Legislature to strengthen privacy laws in Massachusetts and protect abortion seekers and providers from having their personal location data sold to potentially hostile anti-abortion actors.
Moreover, PPAF joined scores of activists and lawmakers in front of the Massachusetts State House for a rally and a lobby day, calling on lawmakers to pass the Healthy Youth Act. There was a big win when the Healey-Driscoll administration and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released a new draft of the comprehensive health and physical education curriculum framework. This LGBTQ+ inclusive, medically accurate, and developmentally- and age-appropriate framework outlines guidelines for health and physical education for preK-12 public school students in Massachusetts and would revise the existing Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework, which was last updated in 1999.
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