On July 14th, Bob Katzen, Publisher of the Beacon Hill Roll Call, contacted the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, seeking a comment from C. J. Doyle on the passage by the State Senate of S. 2996—Senate Amendment to the House Bill Expanding Protections for Reproductive Rights.

This draconian measure would impose upon Massachusetts employers an unprecedented state mandate to fund abortions in employee group health insurance coverage. Moreover, this coverage would not be subject to any “deductible, coinsurance, copayment or any other cost-sharing requirement.”

The bill would also immunize Massachusetts doctors from any legal or professional sanctions for participating in illegal abortions in other states; forbid Massachusetts law enforcement officers from cooperating with other jurisdictions in enforcing laws which prohibit abortion; require employers to cover “gender affirming” mutilation surgeries and dysphoria drugs; and further lower the medical criteria for late term abortions in the Commonwealth.

The Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner would be empowered to issue a statewide standing order authorizing the dispensing of emergency contraception—the Plan B abortion pill—by licensed pharmacists. Pharmacists would only be required to make an “appropriate recommendation” that the patient follow-up with a medical practitioner. There is no provision for a conscience clause for individual pharmacists.

This proposed law would also require the Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services to consult with Planned Parenthood, Reproductive Equity Now—the former NARAL—and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders in formulating and promulgating state regulations implementing the act. The proposed legislation has an emergency preamble, which means it would go into effect immediately once it became law.

Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle issued the following statement: “A state constitutional right to abortion—and in cases of indigence, a publicly funded abortion—has existed in Massachusetts law since the 1981 Supreme Judicial Court decision in Moe v. Hanley.”

“Like the the ROE Amendment of 2020, Senate 2996 is another attempt to expand abortion under the fraudulent pretext that the overturning of Roe v. Wade somehow threatens the right to abortion in the Commonwealth.”

“Under this legislation, the proponents of choice will now deprive Bay State employers, who sponsor group health insurance plans, of any choice when it comes to subsidizing what many understand to be the taking of an innocent human life.”

“The religious exemption for such employers is narrowly drawn. It only applies to churches or ‘qualified church controlled organizations.’ That means that every Catholic college and university in the state, most Catholic secondary schools, and at least half of all Catholic charities—institutions which are church affiliated but separately governed—will now be forced, against their sincerely held religious beliefs, to fund abortion.”

An additional comment from C. J. Doyle: “In 2015, a Massachusetts Superior Court Judge, Douglas Wilkins, ruled against Fontbonne Academy in Milton in a wrongful termination suit brought by a civilly ‘married’ homosexual employee, who lied during his job interview.”

“Fontbonne, a Catholic girls school founded by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston, was the victim of a deliberately inadequate, mendaciously contrived, poison pill religious exemption clause in the 1989 Massachusetts ‘Gay Rights’ Law.”

“I predicted, at the time, that Catholic institutions would be successfully sued by homosexual activists, and it is now easy to predict that, in the not too distant future, another Massachusetts judge will order a Catholic institution to pay for an employee’s abortion.”

“This appallingly authoritarian measure is an overt attempt by the abortion industry, and their lackeys in the Legislature, to deprive religious institutions in the Commonwealth of the protections guaranteed by the First Amendment.”

“The bishops must do more than have the Massachusetts Catholic Conference issue a short statement opposing the bill, a statement which does not even address the religious employer mandate. Catholics must be mobilized to stop this assault on their consciences and their religious freedom rights before it becomes law.”

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