GOV. CHARLIE BAKER on Thursday signed a $3.76 billion economic development bill. But Baker, a Republican, once again entered into a controversy with the Democratic-led Legislature over reproductive rights by vetoing an education campaign about crisis pregnancy centers.Crisis pregnancy centers are organizations, often faith-based, that provide resources to pregnant women and counsel them about their options in a way that discourages them from getting an abortion. In some cases, these centers have run deceptive advertising, implying that they offer abortion services when they do not. Particularly since Roe v. Wade was overturned, abortion rights organizations have worried that women seeking abortions will be drawn to crisis pregnancy centers without realizing what the organizations do.The Legislature, as part of its economic development bill, appropriated $17.5 million for organizations that provide reproductive health care, including abortion care, to spend on hiring, security, and education. That money included a $1 million education campaign regarding crisis pregnancy centers.Baker left the $16.5 million earmarked for reproductive health organizations but vetoed the $1 million public awareness campaign as well as language requiring the state to publish a list of providers that offer “legitimate” family planning services. The state already maintains such a list.
|Gov. Charlie Baker addresses the media during a press conference at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center vaccine clinic at La Colaborativa in Chelsea, MA on April 1, 2021. (Pool photo by Craig F. Walker/Boston Globe)|