FRAMINGHAM – The 11-member Framingham City Council unanimously approved a proclamation on the protection of reproductive rights at it s meeting last night, February 7.
Submitted by District 7 City Councilor Leora Mallach on behalf of the Framingham Coalition for Bodily Autonomy group, the proclamation went through multiple drafts and was discussed as several meetings over the last 6 months.
Several people spoke in favor and against the proclamation last night, but the City Council was unanimous in passing it.
The proclamation reads:
Whereas the June 24, 2022, U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization returns the issue of abortion access to the states; and
Whereas, the New York Times estimates that, after the Dobbs decision, as many as 33 million persons capable of being pregnant will not have access to local abortion services; and
Whereas, the public reports that Massachusetts abortion providers and advocates anticipate that the domino effect of abortion bans in other regions will send a flood of patients seeking abortions to our state; and
Whereas, in July 2022, Governor Baker signed into law “An Act Expanding Protections for Reproductive and GenderAffirming Care” to prepare for an influx of pregnant people from abortion-banning states seeking care in Massachusetts and protect abortion providers and patients from out-of-state lawsuits and extradition; and
Whereas, over decades, scores of public reports by nonprofit organizations and watchdog groups, exposés by investigative journalists, and peer-reviewed articles by scholars have documented the existence of organizations, often called crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), that target prospective abortion patients with misleading advertising, deceptive practices, and false medical claims; and
Whereas, such misleading advertising, deceptive practices, and false medical claims disproportionately impact poor and low-income communities, and adolescents; and
Whereas, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Office of Sexual Health and Youth Development cautions that while CPCs may appear to be reproductive healthcare clinics, they do not provide comprehensive reproductive healthcare services or counseling, and further advises that CPCs do not provide abortion care or abortion referrals, contraception, or other reproductive health care, despite what they may advertise, warning that prenatal care, emergency contraception, and abortion are time-sensitive services; and
Whereas, delayed access to abortion care or the inability to obtain wanted abortion care negatively impacts a pregnant person’s health and welfare; and
Whereas, the City recognizes that everyone has a fundamental right to bodily autonomy including transgender and gender diverse communities; and Whereas, the City has a compelling governmental interest in promoting public health and protecting people seeking reproductive health care services from misleading advertising, deceptive practices, and false medical claims as warned by the Department of Public Health and Attorney General; and
Whereas, the City of Framingham values being an open, welcoming, and inclusive city of opportunity for all its residents, workers, and visitors;
Now Therefore, the Mayor and Council commit in Framingham to protect every person’s right to access the full range of reproductive health care options, in full compliance with the laws of our Commonwealth, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing safe, legal abortion by:
● Protecting and upholding the ROE Act and individuals’ right to choose and access abortion care,
● Promoting public awareness of crisis pregnancy centers, limited pregnancy centers and full-spectrum reproductive healthcare centers in our community and help constituents find appropriate full-spectrum reproductive care by: Sharing via our official City channels, the consumer advisories issued in Summer 2022 by the Massachusetts Attorney General, Department of Public Health, and MassHealth as well as a link to Sexual
and Reproductive Health Care Locations,
● Explore options of recourse in the event a pregnant person receives misinformation or is subject to manipulation or other pressure techniques, and
● Easily provide information to inform residents of their right to file a consumer complaint and make a consumer complaint with the MASS Attorney General’s Office and make a consumer complaint form from the AG’s Office available via official City website