Passing the NASTY Woman Act in Massachusetts

Policy Win
Expanding Abortion Access

NIRH works to pass laws to secure reproductive freedom in every state possible. In Massachusetts, NIRH worked alongside partners for many years to reform the Commonwealth’s surprisingly restrictive reproductive health laws, securing reproductive freedom in state law, removes barriers to abortion and expands access to this care. 

In 2018, NIRH supported Reproductive Equity Now in passing An Act Negating Archaic Statutes Targeting Young Women, or the NASTY Women Act, repealing the commonwealth’s centuries-old criminal abortion law. Armed with polling, messaging, and grassroots power, we worked closely with in-state partners to push the legislature — which had long been entrenched in opposition to proactively addressing the laws regarding abortion access — to finally pass this law.

Unbeknownst to most of the public, Massachusetts was one of the few remaining states in the nation with an unconstitutional law banning abortion until its repeal in 2018.  The NASTY Women Act, repealed three archaic, unconstitutional laws that, if enforced, would restrict access to contraception and abortion in the Commonwealth.

This law does the following:

  • Repeals an antiquated ban on abortion care
  • Removes an unconstitutional requirement that non-emergency abortions after after 12 weeks be performed in a hospital
  • Lifts a Ban on Contraception for Unmarried Couples

We’re a small organization—a staff of five—and NIRH really amplifies the work that we do…We just wouldn’t be here today without NIRH. Full stop. It’s that simple.
Rebecca Hart Holder, Executive Director of Reproductive Equity Now