My plan to ensure access to women’s health care

Maura Healey is running for Attorney General. - promoted by david

Earlier today, I released my plan to ensure access to women’s health care in Massachusetts and I am excited to add new progressive voices to our team.

Following on last week’s endorsement by the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund, today we announced endorsements from Representative Denise Provost of Somerville and former Representative Carl Sciortino of Medford, Executive Director of the AIDS Action Committee, who joined me in unveiling the plan.

A woman’s freedom to make decisions about her body is a fundamental right and a matter of personal dignity. I am running for Attorney General because I believe that every woman in Massachusetts should have access to reproductive health care, no matter where she works, where she lives, her sexual orientation, or how much she earns.

Reproductive freedom is more than a women’s issue – it’s a family issue and a pocketbook issue. It is vital to our communities and our workforce as more women enter and remain in the workforce, often as the primary wage earners for their families. Family planning is essential to achieving pay equity and professional advancement because it allows women across Massachusetts to stay in school, achieve professional success, and plan their families.

When I worked in the Attorney General’s Office, I fought to protect women’s reproductive rights. I worked with the legislature to pass the Massachusetts Buffer Zone Law, which ensures safe access to reproductive health care centers, and later I helped to enforce the law and defend it in court. I helped challenge regulations promulgated by the Bush administration that would have permitted physicians and other medical professionals to deny contraceptive care to patients and oversaw the early stages of the Commonwealth’s brief arguing against the claim that an employer should be allowed to deny its employees insurance coverage for birth control because of the business owners’ own religious beliefs.

I will lead an office that fights to protect, and expand, the rights of women to make personal decisions about their health. I will do this by protecting access to health centers, shutting down deceptive practices by crisis pregnancy centers, fighting legislative restrictions, guaranteeing universal access to contraception and advocating for comprehensive sexual health education in schools.

I hope you’ll consider my plan and share it with friends. You can read the plan on my website, along with other proposals from the campaign.


69 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. So You Disagree with the ACLU and Former Congressman Barney Frank? Plus another question

    1. Are you saying the ACLU and Barney Frank have stood in the way of women’s healthcare?

    2. What other roadblocks to women’s healthcare do you see besides the buffer zone issue.

    Thank you.
    I will hang up and take my answer off air.

    eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Fri 23 May 12:03 AM
  2. Not as all-encompassing as it sounds

    The title is misleading. You’re only discussing reproductive health care, and say nothing about the dismal state of everyone’s health care in general. Perhaps you’d care to address single-payer health care for everyone?

    • Kirth

      See my comment to Ernie above. She taking about the important role Planned Parenthood plays in the health care of women.

    • FYI, on single payer

      Choice on single payer is pretty clear to me. From the Progressive Mass questionnaire:

      [Question C3] Do you support moving Massachusetts to Single Payer insurance?

      SUPPORT: Tolman
      Healey: I support every individual and family having access to quality, affordable health care without regard to what their employer provides.

      What role might a Public Option play, in your view?

      Healey: see response above
      TOLMAN: As Attorney General, I will stand up against private industry establishing monopolies in any sector. I believe a public option could take meaningful steps to providing more competition and more fairness for consumers in an industry with escalating costs.

      • that in my opinion is a significant take away ....

        There has been a lot of talk about evasiveness here over the past few weeks. That takes the cake.

      • My eyes are going

        I don’t see the word “single” on this page.

        Warren believes that everyone in MA has a right to high quality affordable health care. He played a key role in 1996 legislation that provided near universal health insurance for children and expanded prescription drug I coverage for seniors. This legislation served as a model for federal legislation, CHIP and Medicare D, and provided a basis for subsequent expansions that have made Massachusetts first in the nation when it comes to health coverage. Warren recognizes that while we have provided health care coverage to many, we must make greater efforts to control our health care costs. Bolstered by the recently passed Chapter 224, as Attorney General, Warren will use the Office’s authority to oversee the healthcare market to enforce anti-trust laws and reduce anti-competitive behavior. He will also regulate charities to control health costs and improve quality.

        • Wrong question

          That’s the answer to a different question.

          On the question of do you support moving Massachusetts to single payer, Warren Tolman said yes.

          • OK here's another question

            “Do you see an opportunity to pander on an issue, because that’s the answer we want to hear, even though the Attorney General position you are seeking will have zero impact on whether we adopt single payer?”

            Tolman: “Yes.”

            • That's funny

              Since it’s the same thing I said about casinos, yet a dozen people here lined up for Maura Healey the minute she changed her position on them.

              • Because we weren't aware

                So she did good outreach.

                • Trying to understand

                  how this works. Pandering (read: expressing the same position you’ve expressed for 20 years) is bad but exploiting activists’ ignorance is good?

                  • All talk no action

                    Healey was an unknown candidate, and picked an issue to emerge on. An effective issue where the office she seeks can have an effect.

                    Tolman has had a lot of opportunity to advocate for single payer. But I don’t recall hearing his name much on it. I guess all that leadership on Clean Elections took up his time.

                    • #ShotsFired


                    • Doesn't compute

                      I view Healey’s newfound outright opposition to casinos as the definition of pandering: swooping in with a sudden evolution on a prominent issue when the existence of casinos, as opposed to the regulation of them, is something a candidate for AG has zero control over. It would be settled by the time she’d take office: Casinos either will be abolished by ballot question in November or they’ll come into being. Then the issue for the AG is enforcing the laws concerning them and protecting the public as best possible. I’ve seen nothing to suggest either candidate’s going to be more effective than the other in doing that.

                      You can say whatever you like about Tolman and single payer. I could say Elizabeth Warren or Ed Markey haven’t been heard much on it. Doesn’t mean they wouldn’t support it. The fact remains that he was asked a simple question – do you support it? – and he said yes. Maura Healey said word soup. That alone puts him ahead on the issue.

                    • It kinda does

                      I could say Elizabeth Warren or Ed Markey haven’t been heard much on it. Doesn’t mean they wouldn’t support it.

                      I’ve got some bad news on single payer. Most officials oppose it. Their actions speak louder than whatever they say.

                      (That’s not a shot at Tolman, who probably sincerely supports it.) But no one in power has acted on single payer.

                    • Bingo

                      I view Healey’s newfound outright opposition to casinos as the definition of pandering: swooping in with a sudden evolution on a prominent issue when the existence of casinos, as opposed to the regulation of them, is something a candidate for AG has zero control over

                      And now she is taking credit for enforcing a law that Tolman passed, but somehow avoiding the blame for enforcing a pro-casino policy while she worked as an AAG? I just don’t get it fenway. The reality based community is really myopic when it chooses to be about certain candidates.

                    • she emerged when she announced her candidacy ...

                      in October and specifically discussed casinos as an enforcement issue, all the while the casino ballot question was in full force and started months prior. Then she emerged again? In the same primary election?

                      Ha … that’s funny! I hope she doesn’t take your lead in debates.

                      Both candidates seem strong, but there are questions which hopefully we’ll get thoughtful responses.

                    • "see response above"

                      BTW, ain’t it

                    • Jim, he ran on single payer in 2002 ...

                      maybe you should get out more, and spend less time making things up. I think your arguments would be better, if you stay away from DFW territory.

                    • Half right

                      I should get out more.

                      I don’t make things up.

                      Any particular reason you’re making this personal about me? Out of ammo for your candidate, perhaps?

                    • sorry jim ...

                      didn’t mean to make it sound personal. My sense is that it’s incorrect framing. Both are strong advocates and strong candidates, it seems to me that your comments are unnecessary attacks. There are questions, is Tolman the same person he was 10 years ago is one I have. Healey is way back from the Middlesex DA, Reilly/Coakley. I find it hard to separate and say everything good came from Healey. So i want to get some more information on both.

                    • Thank you


                    • I haven't chosen a candidate

                      Do I have a high regard for Tolman, yes. Doesn’t mean that I’m voting for him.

                    • That's funny

                      Healey had a lot of time in the Attorney General’s office and I’ve heard her say nothing about this subject until she was safely a candidate for higher office. If she really didn’t want casinos she could’ve resigned or made a statement that she wouldn’t support her boss’ brief. She didn’t. That’s why it’s a pander.

                      Tolman has been a consistent advocate on behalf of labor, civil liberties, clean elections, single payer, gun control, restorative justice, and women’s rights (he wrote the law that Healey is bragging about enforcing here). I see absolutely nothing addressing any of those issues from the Healey campaign. All she has got going for her is her ceiling breaking potential and a functionally useless stance on casinos. And I am really sick of how nasty this race is getting-for what it’s worth fenway and I have been effusive in our praise of Healey’s work on LGBT issues and have vowed to vote for her if nominated. She and her supporters are making Tolman into a bad guy, and making this into a lesser of two evils elections-possibly because she isn’t as experienced as he is.

                      I guess all that leadership on Clean Elections took up his time.

                      Yes-leadership that actually got a ballot question passed and that came at great personal cost to him since he was willing to risk losing an election to fight for those principles.

                      Was Healey willing to risk losing her job by opposing her boss back when it would’ve made a difference on casinos?

                    • Safely a candidate?

                      That’s quite a logic knot, JC.

                      Elected officials don’t want their staff doing advocacy. Candidates can advocate.

                    • A bit unfair

                      It’s a bit unfair to criticize Healey for not taking a stand on public policy issues when she was an AAG. She wasn’t elected and her role was to represent the Commonwealth, not advocate for particular policies. Having said that, I’m with Tolman.

                    • And

                      Candidate Healey also made no stance on casinos, and one can argue she has actually flip flopped since her stance was Tolman’s when she started out. What was her change of heart driven by? Possibly by the need to seize momentum and advantage in the polls? To get on the right side of an easy litmus test?

                      I also like how her being AAG somehow enabled her to get credit for enforcing Tolman’s law that he actually sponsored and got passed, get credit for helping Coakley fight DOMA, but when it comes to the casino advocacy the AGs office chose to do she gets a pass. Talk about an inconvenient truth.

                    • Highlighting Tolman's work history is not nasty

                      I don’t think highlighting Tolman’s work history is “nasty” – - it is a necessary component of judging a person’s qualification for office. We know what Healey has been doing for the past 10 years, but we have very little idea as to what Tolman has been doing. Tolman’s investment in online gambling is indisputably relevant to this campaign. It is not information that he offered up on his own, and he only divested after it became a matter of public controversy. We should know more about his other investments, etc. so we can judge whether we want him to hold the position as the Commonwealth’s top attorney. We would of course demand such disclosures of the Republican nominee, and we can be sure that the Republican nominee we be asking these same questions. We’d be crazy not to ask these questions now.

                    • Sorry

                      Didn’t mean to downrate.

                      I am, however, wondering why people do seem to be so quick to downrate on this thread.

              • She never changed her position on Casinos

                As a private citizen she was never asked. In the AG’s office it was not in her portfolio. Once she left the office she was free to separate herself from her former boss’ decision. That’s not pandering. She is the most honest and direct person with no shady dealings. She doesn’t have a brother who stayed in the legislature after being elected the head of the AFL-CIO just to vote FOR casinos before resigning.

                • Eh

                  Not really fair to bring in Steve.

                • She could've resigned

                  Or made a public statement distancing herself from her boss. Tolman was willing to risk losing an election by following a law he proposed that had not been enacted yet. That takes guts. I see Healey languishing in the polls and taking a symbolic stance when it was politically safe to do so. It was a brilliant political move and I applaud her for holding the same position I do on the ballot question. But it does not somehow inflate her record, mask the fact that she has not addressed the big issues this office actually should tackle, or somehow negate Tolman’s votes and fights over the years. This didn’t have to get ugly-you guys choose to go dirty.

                  • Profile in Courage

                    Tolman was willing to risk losing an election by following a law he proposed that had not been enacted yet.

                    I stand in awe. I hereby urge Maura Healey to withdraw from the race and endorse Warren Tolman.

            • Except that he's been for it

              Since the 1990s. He supported it in his 2002 campaign for Governor. That’s a really long pander.

              • Yep


                • Don't take it personally Jimc

                  These Tolman folks don’t have facts on their side, so they attack other bloggers. I think the attackers are on Tolman’s payroll. These attacks are a badge of honor, and just make the slingers look pathetic.

                  • That's funny

                    I actually blog about other subjects, I wish I was getting paid by a campaign and I’d love to move back to the Commonwealth and work in government or public policy. I’ve been trying for over a year now to make that a reality.

                    But sadly it’s not, you on the other hand only seem to be attacking one candidate and praising another, perhaps you were looking in the mirror when you wanted to malign me and fenway?

            • LOL

              That’s what Healey did on casinos! Bravo!

          • Woops, sorry

            I see what you’re saying now. You’re pointing to his website, my mistake.

          • Specifics please

            Please tell me what Warren Tolman intends to do as AG to make single payer happen. He will be in charge of hospitals. He’s so keen to take on the NRA, but I have heard nothing of taking on the hospitals and insurance companies which the AG really does have oversight of.

            What’s his plan to make this single payer thing work from the AG’s job?

            • Specifics please

              What’s Healey’s plan to stop casinos if the voters, legislature, and governor already back it?

              • Answering a question with a question doesn't answer the question.

                What’s Tolman’s plan to make single payer happen from the AG”S office? Still waiting for an answer.

                BTW, Maura has said repeatedly she will be a fierce fighter against casinos and regulate them like a hawk to keep organized crime, predatory lending and personal bankruptcy from escalating.

                • Ok

                  Tolman has said the exact same thing-so no difference. He also detailed above he would take on the health insurance companies as predatory monopolies and work with the legislature to regulate them to allow the space for public option or single payer to emerge. He also said yes when Healey said a complex and utterly meaningless phrase.

            • He will be in charge of hospitals?

              Really? When did MA adopt a British-style NHS that puts any government official “in charge” of hospitals?

  3. Still nothing about privacy

    More about this already-solved problem, yet nothing about privacy.

    • Access to reproductive health to women is NOT already solved. Some battles have been won for sure, but the war to provide reproductive health care to women goes on and on and on in the details of private and public systems employer based coverage.

      • Ok Judy

        And how has Warren not also adopted this fight as his own and fought for these issues? Does anyone honestly think he is pro-life or will somehow fight against women’s rights?

        Tolman would advocate for a change in state law to add “gender” to the state’s hate crime statute and would form a first-of-its-kind Office on Violence Against Women within the Civil Rights Division. He also plans to enforce the provisions of the Human Trafficking Law, work with state and federal partners to tackle interstate trafficking rings, and implement his five point plan to address campus sexual assault.

        “We cannot wait any longer to utilize the many tools available to take action on holding abusers accountable and finding justice for domestic violence survivors,” Tolman said. “As Attorney General, I will lead the fight to make our communities safer by prosecuting abusers and protecting our families.”

        Tolman has a proven record of fighting for women. As a state legislator, he co-sponsored legislation to create a permanent Commission on the Status of Women in Massachusetts, which brings together advocates for women’s issues, educates the public about issues of importance to women and acts as a resource for policy makers. He was a co-sponsor of legislation that banned “drive-through” deliveries and ensured a minimum of 48 hours of medical coverage for postpartum hospital stays for new mothers. Tolman was also a Senate sponsor of the Buffer Zone legislation.

        From his website

        So let’s move on to where the candidates disagree. Casinos is fair game, as much as I believe Healey pandered, Tolman made the wrong call and I say that as a supporter of his. How about clean elections? How about gun control? How about the civil liberty and policing questions Tom wants answered that neither candidate has really talked about?

        Can we all agree both are good on women? Next we will be hearing Healey is the “only candidate” to fight for LGBT…

      • I meant

        I meant “solved” in the sense that the buffer zone legislation is already in place (and was sponsored by the other AG candidate).

        There most surely is a war against women being conducted. That war is, however, being waged by the GOP. I don’t see health care for women (or reproductive health care for women) as being a significant area of difference between the two candidates for this office.

        I’m quite sure that each candidate will fight strongly to protect women’s health against the GOP onslaught. I have no such clarity about the position of either candidate on, for example, electronic surveillance — including (but of course not limited to) metadata collection.

        • Don't give Tolman credit for the original buffer zone....

          After Brookline: This tragic incident, along with the history of blockades and ineffective injunctions, motivated State Representative Paul Demakis and State Senator Susan Fargo to work with local law enforcement, Planned Parenthood, and other reproductive health care providers to draft the first statewide buffer zone legislation. The bill was introduced in the Massachusetts legislature in January of 1999. The final bill, with several concessions from its original form, was signed by Governor Paul Cellucci in August, 2000 following a compromise with former House Speaker Thomas Finneran.

          • Silly zone

            Jeesh, this exchange is getting really silly. It is simply silly for us to be arguing about which candidate will more vigorously protect and advance women’s reproductive health issues. BOTH will. Vigorously.

            I lived in Brookline. My family has used the clinic where the murders took place. I’m all too familiar with the tragedy there. I also spent ten years confronting the anti-abortion extremists who harassed women and degraded the Coolidge Corner area for years. Of far more recent concern is the similarly offensive demonstrations against the new clinic opened on Harvard Street.

            Those who know me know that I have advocated strongly in favor of women’s reproductive rights. I am particularly outspoken against those “pro life” extremists who in my view are and should be prosecuted as domestic terrorists. Mr. Tolman did co-sponsor the buffer-zone legislation (along with many others, I assume). I reject your insinuation that his co-sponsorship is not relevant to this exchange.

            I already said that each candidate will be a strong advocate for women’s health issues. I see little or no daylight between them on this issue. Whatever their differences are, they are dwarfed by the relentless war on women being waged by the GOP, locally and nationally.

            I’m not advocating for Mr. Tolman or for Ms. Healey. I am instead asking each about their position on government surveillance.

    • actually Planned Parenthood is all about Privacy

      While everyone else wants to tell a woman, or have that woman tell others about her health issues, this is the most significant difference regarding privacy that affects every single woman.

      • who's everyone?

        I don’t understand.

      • Ok Anne

        Are you saying Tolman-who sponsored the law Healey is bragging about enforcing actually wants to tell women what to do? Read his website, then come back to me when you got something real to disagree with him about.

        • Let's give credit where it is deserved not to Tolman

          This tragic incident, along with the history of blockades and ineffective injunctions, motivated State Representative Paul Demakis and State Senator Susan Fargo to work with local law enforcement, Planned Parenthood, and other reproductive health care providers to draft the first statewide buffer zone legislation. The bill was introduced in the Massachusetts legislature in January of 1999. The final bill, with several concessions from its original form, was signed by Governor Paul Cellucci in August, 2000 following a compromise with former House Speaker Thomas Finneran. From Planned Parenthood filing to the US Supreme Court

          • Looking at both candidates

            they appear to have strong positions on the enforcement and protection of the buffer zone. Both have a history to back up their statements. Not sure if you think Tolman is lying and in 2000 co-sponsored legislation just to set up a 2014 AG run. But realistically, I think no matter what we’re getting a strong advocate in the AG’s office.

    • That's not what this post is about.

      She posted on women’s health this time. There’s still several months until most people have to make a decision on this race.

  4. Maura's right - - access to health care is an pocketbook issue

    Maura stressed that a woman’s access to health care is more than a women’s issue – - it’s also a pocketbook issue. She’s right, on a micro and macro level. Because of the Affordable Care Act, women in the U.S. saved many millions on birth control pills last year: Maura raised this issue recently when I saw her speak and clearly intends to make this a key piece of her work in the AG’s office.

  5. Missing the point

    Jconway– you suggest that Healey could have just resigned her position if she disagreed with the boss’s over casinos. Besides overlooking the privilege implicit in that “recommendation” (the ability to just leave one’s job freely and to continue being able to support oneself and others without another job to call back on) the fact is, in some sense, she DID do that. This casino ballot issue is fresh. She resigned in the Fall to run. She then made her position clear on casinos a month or two ago. It is the opposite position of the AG’s with respect to the ballot question. But now she is now “pandering”? There is a difference between a commenter acknowledging the political gain and intelligence of a candidate’s position and accusations that the position is just pandering. A decision can be the former and still be the candidate’s authentic position. For pandering, you need more. Otherwise it’s just a completely unsupported accusation.

    Re Healey’s original post, the mention of taking on the deceptive practices of clinics is important and squarely within the AG’s authority. See this recent piece from the New Yorker on this real and current problem:

    This is exactly the kind of perception and drilling down that you see coming from Healey.

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