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Massachusetts Abortion Laws


Abortion is legal in Massachusetts until 24 weeks of pregnancy. Thereafter, abortion is legal only to preserve the life of the mother, in the case of a lethal fetal abnormality, or if the fetus is incompatible with life outside the uterus without extraordinary efforts.


In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which returned to the states the power to regulate, even prohibit, abortion. Massachusetts law generally allows abortion through the 24th week of pregnancy.

In fact, Massachusetts abortion laws are, generally speaking, less restrictive than those in many other states. Other jurisdictions often require consent requirements and other statutory obstacles. But virtually all states, including Massachusetts, have some abortion restrictions.

The table below lists the basic provisions of Massachusetts abortion laws. See Abortion Laws and Abortion Rights FAQs to learn more.

Code Section Ch. 112§§12K to 12R
Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion Failure to meet standards for legal abortion; violation of procedural standards such as informed consent, medical procedure required, etc. Knowing destruction of the life of an unborn child or the intentional expulsion or removal of an unborn child from the womb other than for the principal purpose of live birth or removing a dead fetus
Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion Under 24 weeks, abortion may be performed only by physician, physician's assistant, nurse practitioner, or nurse midwife with written informed consent; after 24 weeks, physician with written informed consent only if necessary for the physical or mental health of the mother, if fetal abnormality, or if fetus is incompatible with life outside the uterus
Consent Requirements Written informed consent within 24 hours before procedure except in emergencies; if mother less than 16 years and unmarried, consent of one parent or guardian or court (if convinced of mother's maturity or that procedure is in mother's best interest), except in medical emergency
Residency Requirements for Patients -
Physician Licensing Requirements Physician, physician's assistant, nurse practitioner within scope of practice; after 24th week, must be performed by a physician in a licensed hospital

Note: State laws are constantly changing — contact a Massachusetts family law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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