Abortion: Massachusetts Senate proposes $17.5 million funding increase for reproductive health care and family planning

Members of the Massachusetts Senate upped the ante on spending related to advocating for access to reproductive health care in the Commonwealth on Monday with less than two weeks remaining in the legislative session.

The state Senate, in an approximately $4 billion economic development and tax relief bill unveiled Monday, earmarked $17.5 million for reproductive health and family planning. The figure is $2.5 million more than the House passed in a similar bill last week, with Senate Speaker Karen Spilka blaming the increase on rising security costs , security, infrastructure and access needs. The two versions will have to be reconciled at a conference.

“States like Massachusetts and others trying to protect and preserve reproductive rights will be in demand, and (the) need for safety, infrastructure and security will also be very important,” Spilka told reporters during the interview. a briefing at the Massachusetts State House on Monday afternoon. . “That’s just one area where the Senate feels we need to take a stand here. Massachusetts is a state that will preserve and protect reproductive rights.

As part of a separate funding injection for reproductive care, Massachusetts lawmakers intend to set aside $2 million in the fiscal year 2023 budget to bolster safety infrastructure at health clinics. abortion following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. Senate and House negotiators agreed to the $2 million in the budget reconciliation, which both houses are due to vote on later Monday.

The pending funding figure matches what the Massachusetts Senate had drafted in its budget proposal, which emerged after Politico released Judge Samuel Alito’s leaked draft opinion. The Massachusetts House of Representatives, meanwhile, had offered $500,000 — before abortion rights were jeopardized.

The Jane Fund of Central Massachusetts, the Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts and the Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund are expected to receive grants as part of the budget jolt.

Kate Glynn, co-chair of the board of directors of the Western Massachusetts Abortion Rights Fund, hailed the breadth — and significance — of the legislature’s proposed allocation. But Glynn said her organization is still waiting for clearer guidance on how it can roll out grants as Beacon Hill refines technical details.

“It’s not lost on us and we’re extremely grateful that our state understands that it’s not just about the providers and the clinic,” Glynn told MassLive Monday. “It’s all about the mechanisms to ensure people can access care and that’s going to be exponentially more important as travel patterns change across the country.”

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