The MTA and five other unions announced their support today for the ROE Act, joining a list of nearly 60 organizations that back an effort to protect and expand abortion access in Massachusetts. MTA’s Board of Directors voted to support the legislation on Oct. 19.
The endorsing labor unions represent more than 220,000 Massachusetts workers. In addition to the MTA, the unions are the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts, the Boston Teachers Union, the Massachusetts Nurses Association, SEIU Local 509 and 1199SEIU.
“We are a union of educators. Three-quarters of our 116,000 members are women and we educate more than 460,000 girls in our public schools,” said MTA President Merrie Najimy. “We live in an era in which a woman’s right to affordable and accessible health care is under attack, as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to further erode or eliminate Roe v. Wade.
“We know that some of our students will become pregnant, and some of them will have legitimate reasons why they can’t talk to their parents about it,” she continued. “We need the ROE Act now more than ever to protect the rights of our students, our members, and of all women in the state to have access to safe, affordable abortion care.”
“We need the ROE Act now more than ever to protect the rights of our students, our members, and of all women in the state to have access to safe, affordable abortion care.”MTA President Merrie Najimy
The ROE Act, among other provisions, builds safeguards for young people seeking abortion care; includes abortion in the pregnancy-related safety net coverage provided to Massachusetts residents ineligible for MassHealth; ensures access to abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy in cases of fatal fetal diagnosis; reforms state law to remove inflammatory definitions and medically unnecessary restrictions; and codifies the principles of reproductive freedom into state law.
MTA Vice President Max Page reflected on the need to act now.
“A friend recently shared some photographs of the March for Women’s Lives, in 2004 — 15 years ago,” he said. “I was there with my family, including our two daughters, one just a toddler at that time. It seemed like we might finally move beyond the threats to a woman’s right to affordable and accessible health care. But those rights remain under attack, more aggressively than ever. We must be prepared at the state level to secure the right to abortion, including for our younger women. We need the ROE Act because our young women have a right to choose what happens to their bodies.”
The ROE Act Coalition is a statewide group committed to passing the ROE Act to protect and expand access to abortion in Massachusetts. Founding organizations include the ACLU of Massachusetts, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts and the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts. The labor unions now join dozens of medical, advocacy and legal groups that support the legislation.