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Petition to block state taxpayer funding for abortions falls short

Chairman Thomas Harvey put the count at 58,559 signatures, far short of the 80,239 required.

For the third time in five years, a petition drive aimed at ending state taxpayer funding for abortions has failed to garner the support it needed to land on the election ballot.

The Massachusetts Alliance to Stop Taxpayer Funded Abortion alerted supporters Tuesday that its petition-gathering drive had not reached the threshold necessary to start the process to amend the constitution by ballot question.

Taxpayer funding for abortions is prohibited on the federal level by the so-called Hyde Amendment (except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother). But Massachusetts is one of 16 states where abortions are covered by Medicaid. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 1981 that women eligible for Medicaid have a constitutionally protected right to an abortion.

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