Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding reproductive justice in Massachusetts. I wanted to update you that today, I voted in the affirmative to pass the FY2021 Budget Conference Committee Report, which include language that will reduce barrier to reproductive health care for women in the Commonwealth.
The inclusion of this language is the result of a careful process over the past 18 months led by Rep. Claire Cronin, Chair of the Judiciary Committee. During this time, the committee heard testimony on the ROE Act from members of the public, organizations, and their colleagues, both in favor and in opposition to this language. At the same time, I have engaged with many members of our community to understand their thoughts and concerns, and have amplified these conversations to my colleagues as we seek to understand and reduce barriers to reproductive health care.
As a woman, a mother of daughters, a nurse, and as a Legislator, I support a woman’s right to make all choices, including reproductive choices. I support laws that guarantee this right, and I work to ensure access to quality healthcare and education and advocacy services. A woman’s right to these services should be readily available in safe settings that preserve and protect the privacy and rights of each individual, regardless of income, age, marital status, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. While I have always been committed to these goals, I know that in light of the present federal dynamics, which threaten these goals, we must not only be vigilant but act.
With the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I share the concern that reproductive rights were in danger and became ever more present, and with that brought an understanding that Massachusetts must take the steps to remove barriers to this healthcare. With this renewed sense of urgency, the House of Representatives acted on voting to pass Amendment 759, Improved Access to Healthcare in November during the House budget debates.
Now, with the passing of the conference report in the House and Senate, the FY2021 budget will move to the Governor’s desk. It is my hope that the Governor swiftly signs the entire budget, including this provision.
Thank you again for writing to me about this important issue and I look forward to continuing to have these conversations about how we can continue to ensure access to quality healthcare for everyone in our state.
Yours in service,
Denise C. Garlick
13th Norfolk District