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Massachusetts governor to sign NASTY Women Act to repeal 'archaic' laws

By
Ray Downs

July 24 (UPI) -- Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said he will sign the NASTY Women Act, a bill to repeal several "archaic" state laws against abortion, adultery and contraception.

The Negating Archaic Statutes Targeting Young Women Act was passed last week and eliminates laws that are no longer enforced but still technically on the books, with some written between the 1600s and 1800s.

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Some of the laws include a 173-year-old ban on abortion and punishment for women who commit adultery or fornication.

"We will sign that," Baker, a Republican, told reporters on Monday. "There are many folks in the women's health community that were particularly concerned about this. The lieutenant governor and I and other folks on our team discussed it, and we do plan to sign it."

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The bill could also have an impact if the U.S. Supreme Court were ever to overturn its landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which declared state bans on abortion unconstitutional.

Massachusetts State Senate President Harriette Chandler, a Democrat who introduced the bill two years ago, told TIME that women legislators have discussed passing the bill over the past six years, but made it a priority after the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy and the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, whose potential confirmation will give conservatives a 6-3 advantage on the nation's highest court.

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"I think people are beginning to realize these are strange times we live in. Nothing is impossible, and we've got to have a 'plan B.' If these laws are enforced, what do we do?" Chandler said. "We're not willing to sit back and say, 'Well, it's not going to happen here.' The word for that is denial."

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