BOSTON (WPRI) — In their final debate before Massachusetts voters head to the polls to elect the state’s next governor, Democrat Maura Healey and Republican Geoff Diehl argued over topics including housing costs, energy prices, taxation and abortion.
Abortion access was a hot topic in Thursday’s debate. Diehl pledged to maintain abortion access in Massachusetts while his opponent Healey accused him of wanting to jail doctors who provide abortion care.
Diehl said that as governor he would not take action to stop healthcare professionals and abortion advocates from providing access to the procedure or abortion pills to women from out of state. Diehl said he believed the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade was correct because abortion should be a state’s issue and, as governor, he would be bound by Massachusetts’ law.
“Massachusetts handled it by passing the Roe Act, even though Charlie Baker had two objections in the Roe Act, they overruled him on those issues,” Diehl said. “It’s the law of the land. My job is to protect women’s healthcare choices and I will do that.”
Healey said she didn’t believe him and said this is a real distinction in this race.
“This is a race where my opponent celebrated when Roe was overturned,” Healey said. “He celebrated it. He thinks it’s a good decision and a good idea. He wants to defund Planned Parenthood.”
Healey has a strong lead in recent polls.
If she wins, Healey would become the first woman and first openly gay candidate to be elected governor in Massachusetts.
Diehl served the Seventh Plymouth District on Beacon Hill from January 2011 to January 2019. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 2018 but lost in the general election to Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Warren.