Boston Red Cloaks advocated for passage of the ROE Act from January 2019 until it was finally passed.
We employed multiple strategies to encourage legislators to codify the 1973 United States Supreme Court holding in Roe vs. Wade.
Strategies we employed included: engaging residents across the Commonwealth, encouraging them to make phone calls, write letters and send texts to their legislators. We also undertook field trips, stand-ins and visits to the State House. We coordinated a series of "Pass It On!" videos to spread the word about the ROE Act, after learning that most people in the state did not even know the legislation was pending. In addition, we launched Red Cloaks Radio, a podcast designed to inform voters and activists about important legislation that our mainstream media was largely ignoring.
Our podcast, Red Cloaks Radio, began as a 30-day countdown when there was just one month left in the scheduled legislative session. We asked about Massachusetts legislators: "Will they or won't they pass the ROE Act?"
We never expected the extension of the legislative session, and we followed this bill over the next six months.
Along the way, we expanded our horizons, learning from organizers across America who were fighting similar fights.
"Extra Innings" episodes asked who would show up for reproductive justice. In the end, a supermajority of legislators showed up in Massachusetts.
However, the Governor - Charlie Baker - who claimed to be 'pro-choice' - turned his back. He vetoed the legislation, using his power to try to stop the removal of sexist, racist and harmful barriers in existing laws.
Ultimately, the Massachusetts legislature overrode Baker's veto - TWICE.
We thank the Massachusetts legislators who voted YES to pass provisions of the ROE Act.
On December 29, 2020 new legislation was enacted in Massachusetts that expands access to abortion, improves reproductive health and freedom, and helps remove sexist and racist barriers that have been embedded in our laws since 1974 when anti-choice legislators forced their values into the statutes. The MA Senate joined the House in overriding Baker's 12/24/20 veto.
Courage calls to courage everywhere
1/17/19 ROE Act legislation was introduced.
1/12/20 the MA House voted 108 - 49 in support of budget amendment #759.
11/18/20 the MA Senate voted 33 - 7 in support of budget amendment #801. E
12/16/20 House voted 107-49 to reject Baker's amendments. Senate joined them. Baker received the re-enacted legislation.
12/24/20 Baker vetoed the legislation, refusing to compromise.
12/29/20 The ROE Act is enacted when the legislature overrides Governor Baker's veto.
The Massachusetts legislature was presented with the ROE Act in January 2019. It was a 2 year process, with plentiful constituent participation. It would not have passed if advocates did not persist.