Mass NOW’s Legislative Task Force Committee works to pass progressive legislation in Massachusetts. Check out the successful legislation we advocated for during the 2013-2014 Legislative Session!
An Act Relative to Prevent Shackling and Promote Safe Pregnancies for Female InmatesRep. Kay Kahn, H1433, Sen. Karen Spilka, S1171
We were shocked by this cruel and unusual punishment on pregnant inmates. Massachusetts law only allowed for the removal of shackles when the mother is in the delivery room. Otherwise, it was common practice to be shackled throughout their third trimester, hours of painful labor, and physical and emotional recovery. What’s even more unfortunate, only less than half the states in the U.S. have outlawed the practice, despite its being condemned by the American Medical Association. This bill establishes minimum standards for the treatment and medical care of female inmates, promotes safe and healthy pregnancy outcomes, prohibits shackling of women during childbirth, and ensures that release planning includes child custody and basic family planning information and services.
Mass NOW was a part of a coalition of groups from across Massachusetts to bring attention to and support this bill. At the December 12th Public Safety and Homeland Security, our coalition gave three panels of oral testimony which included members of the ACLU, the Prison Birth Project, Families for Justice, NARAL, Black and Pink, and other coalition members. The hearing was a great success, not only were committee members shocked by the continuation of this practice, but the bill also received media coverage from the Boston Globe and Worcester News.
An Act Relative to Establishing Paid Sick TimeRep. Kay Khan, Rep. Jason Lewis, H1739, Sen. Alice Wolf: S900
Mass NOW would like to thank all of our amazing volunteers who helped us achieve this goal! Please be sure to send any remaining petitions that you have to the Raise Up Headquarters. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Act to Promote Safety and Protect Access to Reproductive Health Care Facilities/Safe Access Bill (S2283)For 14 years, buffer zones protecting entrances to reproductive health care facilities have successfully reduced the harassment of clinic workers and patients and improved the quality of care available. Prior to the buffer zone, Massachusetts women and healthcare providers faced terrible violence. The need for protections around these facilities has not diminished in the past years; women of the Commonwealth continue to face extreme behavior when entering reproductive health care facilities, including, but not limited to, death threats, assault, and verbal harassment. Women have a constitutional right to access reproductive health services, a right that requires safe access to and from their providers without the threat of violence and harassment. This right should be recognized along with, but not trumped by, the right of those to protest outside. This legislation was in response to the SCOTUS striking down MA buffer zones around clinics that provide abortion, and passed only three weeks later. Mass NOW supported the bill and was a part of the group that organized the Supreme Rally; Policy & Operations Manager, Katie Hayden, spoke at rally.