Citing potential judicial action to repeal the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, the local branch of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on Monday announced its support for a Massachusetts bill aimed at increasing access to abortion care.

The bill (H 3320, S 1209) is known as the ROE Act, and the Massachusetts section of the obstetricians and gynecologists groups said in a statement that its passage "would ensure that Massachusetts remains a safe haven for women in need of the full range of reproductive interventions."

"And by repealing the current medically unjustified barriers to safe, legal abortion, the ROE Act would ensure that safe, legal abortion is available to all Massachusetts women, even if federal protections are undermined or eliminated," the statement said. "The restrictive policies currently in place in Massachusetts undermine the health of women and the integrity of the patient-physician relationship. The ROE Act recognizes that abortion is health care and that access to needed care should never be compromised."

Co-sponsored by a total of 22 state senators and 92 representatives, the bill would allow for abortions after 24 weeks to protect the physical or mental health of a patient, or in cases of diagnosed lethal fetal anomalies. It would also get rid of parental consent requirements for teenagers seeking abortions.

Opponents of the bill have said it would remove parents from an important health decision and do away with protections for patients, including one provision that would no longer require an abortion after 24 weeks to take place in a hospital.

The bill has remained before the Democrat-controlled Judiciary Committee since its heavily attended June 7 public hearing