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BBA Releases Statement of Principles on Reproductive Rights

July 19, 2023

Today, Boston Bar Association (BBA) President Chinh Pham announced that the governing Council has approved the recommendations of the report and Statement of Principles Concerning Reproductive Rights and Related Issues which will guide our on-going work in this area.

“Reproductive justice is fundamental to the dignity, health, and equality of every person” said BBA President Chinh Pham, “Equality under the law and in society requires bodily autonomy, and as lawyers we have a unique responsibility to promote and uphold the rule of law, and to warn against the undermining of civil rights. These principles articulate our support for reproductive rights and will stand as a framework for future action.”

Responding to the questions and uncertainty left in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade, the BBA convened a task force of experts in health law, privacy and cybersecurity, criminal law, and government to study the changing legal landscape. The task force, co-chaired by Ingrid Martin of Todd & Weld LLP and Mark Fleming of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, developed a report and set of four principles to help guide the BBA’s work on reproductive justice:

Principle 1: Reproductive rights are essential human and civil rights. Every person should have the full ability to exercise their rights to reproductive autonomy and self-determination.  

Principle 2: All people should have meaningful access to reproductive care regardless of race, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or disability.  No person should be discriminated against or have their rights or human dignity diminished during or because of a pregnancy.

Principle 3:Massachusetts has enshrined the right to reproductive freedom in the Declaration of Rights and has further enshrined the right to seek and obtain an abortion in its General Laws and additional Executive Orders, and this body of law should be safeguarded.

Principle 4: Health care providers should be able to provide all patients with medically appropriate health care consistent with their training and abilities without undue interference by government.

During the last year, the BBA task force worked alongside various BBA Sections and the Boston Bar Journal to educate our members and the public on changing laws affecting reproductive rights and health care providers. The BBA will continue to serve our community as an educational convener and to advocate for reproductive rights as we monitor developments throughout the U.S. that may affect our members, their clients, and anyone seeking care.

Read the full report here.