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Cardinal O’Malley, other Mass. bishops condemn new state abortion law

Cardinal Sean O'Malley spoke at the St. Francis House in Boston on Christmas Day.Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe

Cardinal Sean O’Malley and the state’s other three Roman Catholic bishops on Thursday condemned the Massachusetts Legislature’s decision to override a veto from Governor Charlie Baker and enshrine abortion rights in state law.

The new law will allow abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy in cases of a fatal fetal anomaly and if “necessary, in the best medical judgment of the physician, to preserve the patient’s physical or mental health.” It will also lower from 18 to 16 the age at which a person can seek an abortion without consent from a parent or a judge.

The bill, initially passed within the state budget and then returned by Baker with amendments that lawmakers ultimately rejected, was reaffirmed by both houses of the Legislature this week.


O’Malley, Bishop Robert J. McManus of Worcester, Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha of Fall River, and Bishop William D. Byrne of Springfield said in a statement that they “are deeply disappointed” by the Legislature’s decision. They added that abortion is a “serious moral wrong and directly undercuts our unyielding goal to promote the common good throughout a civil society.”

The bishops said they would recommit themselves to the conception of natural death.

“The Catholic Church recognizes that it has a primary moral responsibility to speak for the most vulnerable among us — the unborn,” they said. “That responsibility is at the center of the Catholic moral vision. Because of its centrality, the Church must oppose the directly intended taking of human life through abortion at any stage of pregnancy.”

Adam Sennott can be reached at adam.sennott@globe.com.