The Volokh Conspiracy

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Mass. Governor's Non-Cooperation Order as to Enforcement of Other States' Abortion Laws


Just issued yesterday; not sure how much practical significance this will have, but I thought I'd note it:

[1.] No Assistance from Executive Department Agencies. Except as required by the order of a court of competent jurisdiction, no executive department agency and no employee, appointee, officer, or other person acting on behalf of any executive department agency may provide any information or expend or use time, money, facilities, property, equipment, personnel or other resources in furtherance of any investigation or proceeding initiated in or by another State that seeks to impose civil or criminal liability or professional sanction upon a person or entity for

[a.] [i.] the provision, securing, or receiving of, or any inquiry concerning reproductive health care services that are legal in this Commonwealth; or

[ii.] any assistance given to any person or entity that relates to the provision, securing, receiving of, or any inquiry concerning reproductive health care services that are legal in this Commonwealth.

This restriction shall not apply to any investigation or proceeding where the conduct that is subject to potential liability under the investigation or proceeding initiated in or by the other State would be subject to civil or criminal liability or professional sanction under the laws of the Commonwealth if committed in this Commonwealth. Notwithstanding the general prohibition of this section, agencies and individuals acting on their behalf may provide information or assistance in connection with such an investigation or proceeding in response to the written request of a person who is the subject of such an investigation or proceeding.

[2.] Protection of Health Care and Other Professionals Licensed in the Commonwealth. The Commissioner of Public Health and the Commissioner of Occupational Licensure are directed to work with the boards of professional licensure operating under their respective supervision to implement policies that will ensure that no person shall be disqualified from licensure or subject to discipline by a Commonwealth board of professional licensure for providing or assisting in the provision of reproductive health care services or as a consequence of any judgment, discipline, or other sanction threatened or imposed under the laws of another State so long as the services as provided would have been lawful and consistent with standards for good professional practice in the Commonwealth.  The Commissioners shall report to me on measures implemented by the boards under their supervision within 45 days of this Order.

[3.] Unavailability of Interstate Extradition. Notwithstanding the provisions of G. L. c. 276, §§ 11-20R, the Office of the Governor shall decline any request received from the executive authority of any other State to issue a warrant for the arrest or surrender of any person charged with a criminal violation of a law of that other State where the violation alleged involves the provision or receipt of or assistance with reproductive health care services unless the acts forming the basis of the prosecution of the crime charged would also constitute a criminal offense under the laws of the Commonwealth. Consistent with the requirements of the United States Constitution, this limitation shall not apply in the circumstance where the person who is the subject of the request for arrest or surrender was physically present in the requesting State at the time of the commission of the alleged offense and thereafter fled from that State.

[4.] Definitions. For the purposes of this order, the terms listed below shall have the following meanings:

"Reproductive health care services" includes all medical, surgical, counseling, or referral services relating to the human reproductive system, including, but not limited to, services relating to pregnancy, contraception, or the termination of a pregnancy;

"Executive department" includes the office of the Governor, any executive office of the Commonwealth, as defined by section 2 of chapter 6A of the General Laws, and any agency, bureau, department, office, or division of the Commonwealth within or reporting to such an executive office of the Commonwealth.

Thanks to commenter Dr. Ed for the pointer.