Sen. Lesser Issues Statement After Governor Signs "NASTY Women Act" Repealing Archaic Laws Discriminating against Women

SPRINGFIELD — Senator Eric P. Lesser praised the signing of the “NASTY Women Act” today, which formally repeals a number of archaic statutes that discriminated against women. Those laws — including some dating back to the 1600s — included punishments for adultery, criminalization of abortion and prohibitions on the prescription of contraceptives to unmarried women.

After Gov. Charlie Baker signed the act into law, Sen. Lesser issued the following statement:

“Today the Commonwealth of Massachusetts stood up and, with one voice, told the rest of the country that we will protect women’s rights and we will fight back as the Trump Administration tries to criminalize the very act of being a woman. This historic bill, which has erased discriminatory practices from state law, is indebted to Senate President Chandler, who tirelessly championed this legislation and brought it to the floor of the Senate.

“With the resignation of Justice Kennedy and President Trump’s nomination of the far-right jurist Brett Kavanaugh, the balance of the Supreme Court is more precarious than ever before in modern times. Women’s rights have become vulnerable to a legal onslaught that could turn the clock back on what was once accepted by both parties as settled law. This will not come to pass here in Massachusetts, and we will take the federal government to court if necessary to defend a woman’s right to make her own healthcare choices.”

The Senate passed the “NASTY Women Act” unanimously in January. The House passed it last week, sending it to the Governor’s desk.

The act, officially the Negating Archaic Statutes Targeting Young Women Act, gets its name from a moment in the 2016 campaign, when then-candidate Donald Trump called his opponent Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman” during the final presidential debate.