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Baystate Health Statement on Roe vs Wade Reversal

June 28, 2022

A Message from Mark A. Keroack, MD, MPH, President and CEO, Baystate Health

On Friday, June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn the longstanding and significant precedent of Roe vs Wade.

The decision to undo this landmark case will have enormous consequences for millions of people across the country. Despite the Court’s decision to end the federal right to abortion, those rights are still protected in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. However, for nearly half the states in our country, the authority to regulate abortion is now returned to their elected representatives, and many states have already begun to limit access.

Going back on settled law to remove an established constitutional right that people have relied on for 50 years will undoubtedly have a profound negative impact on public health, particularly for our most vulnerable populations. For those who already experience barriers to accessing reproductive health care services, this ruling will further restrict access to safe and legal medical procedures, creating the potential for a return to the practice of unsafe abortions with devastating health outcomes. Those with the means to do so will now be forced to travel across state lines to where abortions are legal.

I want to underscore that the care we deliver in Massachusetts and at Baystate Health remains protected by state law. On Friday, Governor Charlie Baker immediately signed an executive order to protect access to reproductive health care services and providers in the Commonwealth. Governor Baker stated, “This executive order will further preserve that right and protect reproductive health care providers who serve out of state residents. In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v Wade, it is especially important to ensure that Massachusetts providers can continue to provide reproductive health care services without concern that the laws of other states may be used to interfere with those services or sanction them for providing services that are lawful in the Commonwealth.”

While I understand that not everyone supports legalized abortion, I believe the Supreme Court’s ruling is a devastating step backward for reproductive rights. I am disappointed by the decision, because I believe that healthcare decisions should be left up to the patient and their provider. At Baystate Health we will stay true to our mission, “To improve the health of the people we serve in our communities every day, with quality and compassion,” by continuing to provide safe, compassionate, and comprehensive reproductive healthcare as part of our commitment to patients. We also will continue to be mindful of the safety and security of our healthcare professionals, and our organizational-wide efforts to enhance workplace safety will continue to be a priority for the leadership team.

I am proud that our state will allow us to continue to pursue our mission of health for all who seek our care, allowing us to make a positive difference in peoples’ lives.