Protecting Women, Combatting Misinformation

During this time of division, Massachusetts has chosen to serve as a state which will support women’s rights to abortion, alongside New York, California, Washington, and others. However, not everyone in the state has the same opinion. Misinformation is being spread about abortion to try and prevent people from going ahead with these procedures. For Massachusetts to become a haven for women, it is vitally important for the state to grant straightforward protection for people in need of abortions and to combat misinformation, much of which is being disseminated by “crisis pregnancy centers.”

All areas centered around abortion care must be protected by the state government so that there will be no issues regarding the procedure itself. This is becoming a reality with the new abortion protection bill that was passed at the end of July. This bill states that law enforcement cannot cooperate with other out-of-state agencies when looking at abortions, because of differing state laws that do not intersect. This grants safety for people who travel to Massachusetts from other states to get abortions. The bill also gives general and clearer protection to people involved in reproductive healthcare services and allows patients to countersue, if they feel that their rights are violated.

There are also other organizations in the state that provide access to all kinds of reproductive health services, such as Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD). Frinny Polanco Walters, MD, MPH, is the Health Services Medical Director for ABCD, and she told us, “Education, health promotion, and equitable access to reproductive health services are the best way to ensure patients are well informed about pregnancy.”

Dr. Polanco Walters emphasizes that organizations offering reproductive healthcare “should be providing patients with accurate evidence-based information regarding their options which include raising the baby, adoption and abortion and allowing the patients to choose the option that is most appropriate for them at that point in time.” This education, she continues, is best provided in the patient’s native or preferred language and ideally before pregnancy occurs.