On September 9th, the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth overruled Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who attempted to invalidate a ballot question intended to restore legal protection to children who survive abortion.
The radical ROE Amendment—the abortion expansion measure enacted in December of 2020—had repealed that provision of the Massachusetts General Laws, dating back to 1974, which guaranteed life saving medical care for babies born alive during botched abortions.
The Massachusetts Newborn Protection Coalition drafted an initiative petition to revive that pro-life law. Under Article 48 of the Massachusetts Constitution however, ballot questions must be vetted by the Attorney General for proper form and to ensure that they do not contain excluded matter.
The Bay State’s Maura Healey, America’s first openly lesbian state attorney general, is a militant proponent of legal, unrestricted and publicly funded abortion. In 2019, she sued the Trump Administration in an unsuccessful effort to block the cut-off of 60 million dollars in Title X federal family planning monies to Planned Parenthood.
In a September 1st letter to the Newborn Protection Coalition from the Government Bureau of the Attorney General’s office, Assistant Attorney General Anne Sterman claimed that the initiative petition contained “several highly ambiguous provisions,” and its “omissions and unresolvable ambiguities” precluded its certification by Attorney General Healey.
On September 7th, the Coalition sued. Two days later, a single justice of the state supreme court granted a preliminary injunction, ordering Healey to release a summary of the initiative petition to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, so he could then issue blank petition forms to the Coalition for the gathering of signatures.
The Coalition now has until November 17th to collect the signatures of more than 80,000 registered voters in Massachusetts, if the measure is to be placed on the ballot in time for November, 2022 general election. Given the Attorney General’s opposition, the full seven member Supreme Judicial Court must now decide whether the petition meets constitutionally prescribed standards for certification.
On Friday, September 10th, the day after the injunction was issued, Mr. Bob Katzen, Publisher of the Beacon Hill Roll Call, contacted the Catholic Action League, requesting a comment on the court ruling.
Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle made the following statement: “The Supreme Judicial Court acted properly in allowing the Born Alive ballot question to go forward. As the text of the initiative petition is virtually identical to that of the 46 year old statue repealed by the ROE Amendment in 2020, the Attorney General’s claim that its language is ambiguous is altogether unpersuasive.”
“Suspicion remains that special interest politics, not legal considerations, impelled the attempt to keep the Born Alive measure off the ballot.”
“Maura Healey was not only endorsed by both the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund and the NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, but once claimed that she owed her first election to public office, in large measure, to the the backing of Planned Parenthood.”
“Healey said of her successful 2014 bid to become the Attorney General of the Commonwealth, ‘The Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund’s endorsement and active support was a game changer for our campaign.'”