MassEquality News - March 7, 2018

MassEquality News

March 7, 2018


Victory for Priority Bills on Beacon Hill

White medical symbol with a rainbow flag in the backgroundThe people of Massachusetts can now rely on access to affordable birth control methods despite the Trump administration's roll-back of contraceptive coverage, and they will soon be protected from the sharing of confidential medical information on insurance statements thanks to the passing of two important healthcare bills.

On November 20, 2017, Governor Baker signed An Act Advancing Contraceptive Coverage and Economic Security in our State (ACCESS). This law ensures that Massachusetts residents continue to have access to affordable birth control despite federal actions allowing employers to deny coverage for birth control for any reason, and requires that nearly all forms of birth control be covered by insurance with no copay, including emergency contraception.

On February 28, 2018, An Act to protect access to confidential healthcare (PATCH) passed in the MA House of Representatives, only two weeks after it passed in the Senate. This victory was possible because of the advocacy of our supporters and coalition partners.

The PATCH bill fixes a major gap in medical privacy laws by ensuring that when multiple people are on the same insurance plan, confidential medical information is not shared with anyone other than the patient. The Explanation of Benefits form, which is sent to the primary subscriber whenever someone covered by a health plan accesses care, lists tests and treatments received by people on the same plan. LGBTQ youth, minors, people with HIV/AIDS and those in an abusive relationship are particularly impacted by this disclosure of confidential medical information. This bill will enhance patient confidentiality protections and improve health care access for Massachusetts residents.

The PATCH bill must return to the Senate for a final vote to approve amendments before it goes to Governor Baker's desk for his signature. We'll keep you updated on the progress of this bill as it moves through the final steps of the legislative process.

In further health legislation news, the reporting date for An Act Relative to Healthy Youth (S.2128/H.3704) has been extended to Wednesday April 25, 2018. The bill, which would ensure that a school electing to teach sex education selects a curriculum that is medically accurate, age-appropriate and comprehensive, passed in the Senate with strong support, and is currently before the House Ways and Means Committee. We'll report more news on this bill as it becomes available.

Washington to Become 10th State to Ban Conversion Therapy

On Saturday, March 3rd, the Washington state Senate passed a bill that bans the use of conversion therapy on minors by licensed therapists for the purpose of changing their sexual orientation or gender identity. The House voted to pass the bill on February 28th. The bill now goes to Governor Jay Inslee, and he is expected to sign it into law. Those found guilty of violating the law could face fines, the revocation of their license or suspension.

You can help us make Massachusetts the 11th state to ban this harmful and deceptive practice—read the article below for more information.

MA Conversion Therapy Ban Update: Contact Your Rep. Today!

Man in white t-shirt, jeans and red cap holds a sign that reads "Self-Hatred is Not Therapy."The Conversion Therapy Ban Bill (H.4014), also known as An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors, would prohibit licensed mental health professionals from trying to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a minor. This bill is necessary to ensure that state-licensed mental health practitioners abide by professional standards and don't engage in damaging practices that have no scientific basis. It does not impact religious or faith-based counselors, nor does it violate anyone's First Amendment rights.

Act Now to Keep MA Youth Safe from Conversion Therapy
The House version of the Conversion Therapy Ban Bill is still awaiting a vote. Our youth have waited long enough—Massachusetts is falling behind in protecting minors from conversion therapy! Please act today to help us move this important bill forward by calling or emailing your state Representative today and asking them to do two things:

  • Urge Speaker DeLeo to move the Conversion Therapy Ban Bill (H.4014) to a vote during the current legislative session.
  • Support the Conversion Therapy Ban Bill when it comes up for a vote.

Download a sample email (Word file) that you can use to create your own email or refer to when making your call to your state Representative's office. You can also download our Fact Sheet on the Conversion Therapy Ban Bill (PDF) to help you plan your email or call. Want more information? Visit the Conversion Therapy Ban Bill page on our web site.

Don't know who your state Representative is? Visit and enter your street address in the form, then click the Show my results button and scroll down the Results page to find your Representative's name. Click on their name to view their contact information.

Please contact your state Rep. today! Thank you for doing your part to keep Massachusetts youth safe from conversion therapy.

[Photo Credit: Daniel Tobias, cc-by-2.0]


It's just two weeks away, so don't wait—Get your tickets today for
Beacons of Light: MassEquality's 2018 Icon Awards Dinner!

Honoring the 2018 Icon Award winners

Attorney General Maura Healey

Political Icon:
MA Attorney General Maura Healey

The Network/La Red Logo below a purple square with the words "Survival + Resistance" in English and Spanish, and a picture of a purple human hand holding a flower with a blue sky in the background

Community Icon:
The Network/La Red

and featuring members of
Boston Roller Derby!

Thursday, March 22, 2018, 6:00-10:00 pm

Hotel Marlowe
25 Edwin H Land Boulevard, Cambridge, MA


Leaders of Boston area businesses and organizations at Beacons of Light 2017  Attendees at the 2017 Beacons of Light event  Members of Voices Rising performing at Beacons of Light 2017

We hope you'll join us—seats are limited, and tickets are going fast...

Buy Your Tickets Today!


Host a Table: $2,500 VIP/$1,750 Dinner

Sponsor the Event: $1,000+

Tickets: $250 VIP (Honoree Cocktail Reception + Dinner & Ceremony)
$175 Dinner & Ceremony only
$75 Young Activist (30 and under) Dinner & Ceremony Ticket

Honoree Cocktail Reception 6-7 pm | Dinner & Icon Awards Ceremony 7-10 pm

Cocktail Attire Requested

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We Hope to See You There!

Photo Credits: Maura Healey by Edahlpr, cc-by-sa 4.0; 2017 event photos ©2017 by Marilyn Humphries.


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