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Reproductive Justice

Reproductive Justice is the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities (SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective).

In addition to abortion-related access and care, the term reproductive justice (RJ) includes comprehensive sex education, sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention and care, adequate pregnancy care and parental leave, safe places to raise children, the right to be child-free and more. In Western MA signs of progress included continued access to abortion services despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. Additionally, the teen birth rate across the region fell, however that progress was not uniform, particularly with respect to Latina girls.

According to IWPR’s Reproductive Rights Index 2022 update, Massachusetts ranked 16th in the nation across a variety of indicators of reproductive rights, with a grade of B-. Massachusetts has a pro-choice legislature and a mixed-choice executive branch.

Abortion Access

  • In 2021, the MA Legislature passed legislation upholding abortion rights
  • 87% of MA residents live in a county with at least one abortion provider (in 2017)
  • There is no waiting period in MA for abortions
  • Minors under the age of 16 in MA need parental consent prior to obtaining an abortion
  • MA funds all medically necessary abortions through Medicaid

Stay Up to Date

Visit the Massachusetts Beyond Roe Coalition’s website for updates on relevant legislation.

Impacted Communities

Many communities are impacted by restrictions to abortion access. While not an exhaustive list, the following communities face a high level of impact:

  • Children in foster care
  • Indigenous people
  • People who are incarcerated
  • Students

Note: this is far from a comprehensive list as federal changes impact a variety of communities differently. Please consult the Amicus Brief filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights on the Disproportionate Harms of Abortion Bans on different communities.

Economic Benefits of Abortion Access

At the national level, IWPR research estimates that state-level abortion restrictions will cost the US economy $105 billion dollars per year—by reducing labor force participation and earnings levels and increasing turnover and time off from work among women ages 15 to 44 years. The economic benefits of NOT restricting abortion are listed below, reflecting the economic importance of abortion access and rights. Progressive abortion policies in MA benefit the economy and allows people to make choices about their economic and reproductive lives.

8,254 Total women between the age of 15 and 44 joining the labor force in the absence of abortion restrictions

Increase in Size of Labor Force in Absence of Abortion Restrictions

Women ages 15-44, Massachusetts

Estimated Earnings Increase for Employed Women ages 15 to 44 in the Absence of Abortion Restrictions

2020 $s, Massachusetts

Percentage Increase in Size of Labor Force in Absence of Abortion Restrictions

Women ages 15-44, Massachusetts

State Earnings Increase from Larger Labor Force in Absence of Abortion Restrictions

Notes About Low Numbers

Estimates may not be reported for a race or ethnic category due to small sample size (fewer than 100) unweighted female respondents aged 15-44.

Sexual & Reproductive Health Education

  • Massachusetts schools are not required to teach education.
  • Curriculum must explain the benefits of abstinence.
  • If sex education is offered, curriculum is not required to include instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • If sex education is offered, curriculum is not required to include instruction on consent.
  • Parents and guardians can exempt their children from any portion of sex education instruction through written notification to the school principal.

Full Report

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Download a PDF of the full report: Life After Roe in Massachusetts

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This research is by and for the community. Help bring us closer to our collective goals for gender equity.

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