Massachusetts law about abortion

Laws, regulations, cases and web sources on abortion law.

Abortion Legal Hotline: 833-309-6301

The hotline offers free and confidential legal advice for Massachusetts residents and those who travel to Massachusetts for an abortion, and also connects patients with information about abortion access and care in the state. 

Visit Accessing Abortion Care in Massachusetts for more information about protections for abortion and reproductive health services, finding a provider, or exploring payment options.

Table of Contents

Supreme Court ruling

FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, 602 U.S. ___ (2024)
U.S. Supreme Court preserved full access to the abortion pill mifepristone by upholding the FDA's 2016 and 2021 regulatory changes, which made it easier for doctors to prescribe, and pregnant women to obtain, the medication.

Danco Laboratories, LLC and Food and Drug Administration, et al., v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine et al., 598 US ____ (2023)
U.S. Supreme Court blocked the lower court decisions banning or limiting the FDA-approved use of the abortion pill mifepristone.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, et al., 597 U.S. 215 (2022)
"We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision..."

Massachusetts laws

Primary Laws

Additional Laws

  • St. 2019, c. 6 § 2A Funding to alleviate the lack of federal funding for family planning
  • MGL c. 15A, § 46 Medication abortion readiness plans established by public institutions of higher education
  • MGL c. 112, § 12I Right of refusal of medical staff
  • MGL c. 112, § 12J Experimentation on fetuses prohibited
  • MGL c. 112, § 12K Definitions
  • MGL c. 112, § 12L Commonwealth or its subdivisions won't interfere with right to abortion under this chapter
  • MGL c. 112, § 12N 1/2 Independent treatment of circumstances permitting abortion at more than 24 weeks
  • MGL c. 112, § 12O Abortion performed pursuant to Sec. 12N; protection of live birth and patient
  • MGL c. 112, § 12P Restrictions on abortions performed under Sec. 12M or 12N; emergency excepted
  • MGL c. 112, § 12Q Collection of data
  • MGL c. 112, § 12R Consent to abortion; form; persons less than 16 years of age
  • MGL c. 266, § 120E1/2 Reproductive health care facilities; withdrawal orders for individuals impeding access to or departure from facility; intimidation; penalty for violations
    Buffer zone; protesters may be required to move back to 25 feet away from the entrance if police determine they have "substantially impeded access to or departure from an entrance or driveway to a reproductive health care facility."
  • MGL c. 272, § 21A Furnishing drugs, articles or information for prevention of pregnancy or conception
  • MGL c. 272, § 21B No privately controlled hospital or other health facility shall be required to admit any patient for the purpose of performing an abortion

Massachusetts executive orders

Executive Order 609: Protecting access to medication abortion services in the Commonwealth (4/10/2023)
Confirms protections for medication abortion under existing state law.

Executive Order 633: Protecting access to emergency abortion care in Massachusetts (6/24/2024)
Reaffirms and recognizes that state law protects the right to an abortion.

Massachusetts regulations

110 CMR 11 Medical authorizations

  • 110 CMR 11.07 Consent to an abortion by a child in the care or custody of the Department of Children and Families

130 CMR 484 Abortions under MassHealth

950 CMR 131 Alternative address for those engaged in protected health care services
Part of the Address Confidentiality Program. Provides protections for those engaged in the provision, facilitation, or promotion protected health care services, including reproductive health care.

Federal laws and regulations


18 USC § 248 Freedom of access to clinic entrances

18 USC § 1461 Mailing obscene or crime-incenting matter
See also: Application of the Comstock Act to drugs that can be used for abortions from the US Attorney General's Office which states "Section 1461 of title 18 of the U.S. Code does not prohibit the mailing of certain drugs that can be used to perform abortions where the sender lacks the intent that the recipient of the drugs will use them unlawfully."

18 USC § 1531 Partial-birth abortion ban act of 2003

42 USC § 300a-6 Prohibition against funding programs using abortion as family planning method

42 USC § 300a-7 Sterilization or abortion


45 CFR Part 88 Protecting statutory conscience rights in health care
Health workers can refuse to perform or assist with medical procedures, like abortion, sterilization, or assisted suicide, if it violates their "conscience" or religion. It applies to health care institutions receiving federal funding.

Federal executive orders

Executive Order Protecting Access to Reproductive Health Care Services, July 8th, 2022.
Protects access to reproductive services and takes steps to try to preserve access to abortion services after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Executive Order on Securing Access to Reproductive and Other Healthcare Services, August 3rd, 2022.
Protects access to out-of-state abortions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade. See also the EO's fact sheet.

Court rules

Superior Court Standing Order 1-21 Uniform procedures regarding petitions for abortion authorization under G.L. c.112, § 12R


Petition under G.L. c. 112, § 12R (Mary Moe petition)
Used to request a court order authorizing a doctor to perform an abortion on a minor under 16 without parental consent.

Mary Moe confidential affidavit
Filed with the Mary Moe petition.

Selected cases

Web sources

Abortion: judicial history and legislative response, Congressional Research Service, 2022.

Abortion laws: Hyde Amendment, Franklin County Law Library (Ohio).  
Includes links to the history of the federal law that prohibits government funds from being used for abortion. Although the Hyde Amendment has not been codified, the language still shows up in various parts of the US Code., Mass. 2-1-1 service.
Free resource that connects people with local health and human resources in Massachusetts. Type in your zip code and then click on "Sexual Health & Testing" for abortion services in your local area.

"The new abortion battleground," by David S. Cohen, et al., Columbia Law Review, Vol. 123, Issue 1 (January 2023).

Questions and answers on Mifepristone for medical termination of pregnancy through ten weeks gestation, U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Information regarding a recent FDA change that allows abortion pills to be sold at retail pharmacies in the United States., U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
Up-to-date information provided by HHS on access to and coverage of reproductive health care and resources.

Sexual and reproductive health service locations, Mass. Office of Sexual Health and Youth Development.
"Find clinics and healthcare providers in Massachusetts offering sexual and reproductive health services."

Warning about crisis pregnancy centers, Mass. Office of Sexual Health and Youth Development (7/12/22).

Print sources

American jurisprudence 2d, West Group, 2005 with supplement, vol. 1, "Abortion and Birth Control."

Family law and practice, 4th ed. (Mass. practice, volume 2), Thomson Reuters, 2013 with supplements, Chapter 27.

Prima facie case, 5th ed. (Mass. practice, vol. 17B), West Group, 2005, section 53.17.

Representing the child client, by Michael J. Dale, et al., Lexis, loose-leaf, sec. 3.02[2][c].

"The right to choose, neutrality, and abortion consent in Massachusetts," by Daniel Avila, 38 Suffolk University law review 511 (2004).

Contact   for Massachusetts law about abortion

Last updated: June 24, 2024

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