Metro

Mass. Senate unanimously passes free birth control bill

RUTH FREMSON/THE NEW YORK TIMES/FILE

The Massachusetts Senate unanimously approved a bill on Tuesday to ensure access to free birth control in the state and shield state residents from changes to federal law regarding contraceptive coverage requirements.

The bill, which was overwhelmingly approved by the House last week, now moves to Governor Charlie Baker’s desk for approval. The Senate voted 27-0 to pass the bill.

A Baker spokeswoman previously said the administration “fully supports access to women’s health and family planning services, is prepared to protect access to those services, and will carefully review any final legislation that reaches the governor’s desk.”

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In a press release issued Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler said the bill both protects and expands women’s health care.

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“I hope this can serve as a model to the country,” Chandler said. “After all, 50 percent of this nation is female. We can’t just go ignoring their needs.”

Senate President Stan Rosenberg said that while the Trump administration is “attacking women’s health care,” Massachusetts is “standing up for our mothers, daughters, friends and neighbors by ensuring access to no-pay contraception.”

Meanwhile, the Planned Parenthood organization applauded the bill’s Senate passage.

“Birth control is basic preventive health care that helps women stay healthy and improves the wellbeing of children and families,” wrote Jennifer Childs-Roshak, president of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts, in a statement.

Danny McDonald of the Globe staff contributed to this report.