Newton Dems Endorsements: "Abortion is Health Care", Pass ROE and Safe Communities

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Recent false and misleading attacks on Democrats by the MA GOP lead the NDCC to take action in support of efforts to protect women’s access to healthcare and to ensure that all residents of Massachusetts feel safe in interactions with law enforcement. Newtons state delegation, Senator Cindy Creem, Representative Kay Khan and Representative Ruth B. Balser, all support the ROE and Safe Communities Acts. The Newton Democrats joined them in calling for the passage of these bills.

At its June 6th second quarterly general membership meeting, the Newton Democratic City Committee made the following unanimous endorsements:

1) Affirmed this statement: “abortion is health care.”

2) Support passage of the ROE Act in Massachusetts - click here to learn more.

The Trump-Pence administration has launched a full scale attack on our freedoms and our rights, including access to abortion. Even in Massachusetts, people face unjust barriers to safe, legal abortion.

With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to gut Roe v. Wade, Massachusetts must dismantle barriers to care and reform state laws so every person has the right to pursue the life they want, including the right to decide if and when to become a parent -- without politicians interfering.

Abortion is health care -- and health care is a fundamental right. That’s why the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts is leading the charge in the 2019-2020 legislative session to pass a new proactive abortion access policy, the ROE Act.

3) Support passage of the Safe Communities Act in Massachusetts - click here to learn more

Key features of the Safe Communities Act

1. No questions about immigration status:
Bars law enforcement and court personnel from asking people about their status unless required by law. The State Police already have a similar policy. Many immigrants fear that calling 911 or speaking to police will lead to separation from family members – especially children –making them more vulnerable to domestic abuse, wage theft and other crimes. This provision would send a strong message that in our Commonwealth, police protect us all.

2. Protects due process:
Before Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) questions someone in local custody, requires police to obtain their consent using a form that explains their right to decline an interview or have their own attorney present. Without these protections, people often make statements or sign documents jeopardizing their immigration cases. Non-citizens often unaware of these rights, because “Miranda” warnings are not required in the civil immigration context.

3. Limits notifications to ICE:
Bars police, court officers and jail officials from notifying ICE that someone is about to be released. This would help ensure that people aren’t put in ICE detention before their cases are fully adjudicated, which denies justice to victims and due process to defendants. ICE may still be notified when a person is being released upon completing a jail or prison sentence.

4. No more 287(g) agreements:
Ends contracts with ICE that allow state and county personnel to act as federal immigration agents, at state taxpayers’ expense. Such contracts are the most extreme form of entanglement with ICE, and when they shift people into ICE custody before they can go to court, they undermine due process. Massachusetts is the only state in New England to have such agreements, and we have four: with Bristol, Barnstable Plymouth counties, and the Department of Corrections.

5. Provides crucial training and accountability:
Requires law enforcement agencies to train their personnel about this law, and if there is an alleged violation, people can file a complaint with the relevant agency or the Attorney General. These provisions would help ensure transparency and tackle problems as they arise.