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Massachusetts House votes to repeal old anti-abortion laws

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BOSTON (AP) -- The Massachusetts House has voted to repeal a series of antiquated state laws, including a 19th-century ban on abortion.

Supporters describe the move as a hedge against possible future rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Donald Trump's nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the court has raised the possibility the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that created a nationwide right to abortion could be weakened or overturned.

The House voted 136-9 Wednesday to remove the laws.

Critics said the vote was unnecessary, noting the anti-abortion laws were largely rendered moot by a 1981 state court ruling protecting access to abortion.

The Massachusetts Senate in January also voted to eliminate the pre-Roe laws, including one banning unmarried people from having access to contraception.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker supports abortion rights.

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