State law declares abortion illegal in Mass.

From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in

You probably think of Massachusetts as one of the most liberal states. So you’d be surprised to know that a 173-year-old state law declares abortion illegal there, despite Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that created a federal right to abortion across America.

The Bay State law prohibits “procuring a miscarriage.’’ To address that, the Negating Archaic Statutes Targeting Young Women Act would remove the statute; Governor Baker says he’d sign the measure into law.

Massachusetts is one of 10 states that still have old abortion bans – albeit unenforceable -- still on the books; all pre-date Roe v. Wade. But the Republican-dominated Supreme Court might reverse Roe in the next year or two and limit abortion-law making to the states, which, after all, traditionally had control of such things. Because of Roe, the state law obviously can’t be enforced now but with growing chances that Roe will be overturned, there’s a strong impetus in some states to get rid of these old anti-abortion statutes fast.