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Boston protestors gather to speak out against drafted Supreme Court opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade

Abortion is a human right sign
​​A protestor on Tremont Street holds up a sign inscribed with “abortion is a human right,” during the May 3 protest organized by the Boston Socialist Alternative. The protest was in response to the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade. AMISHA KUMAR/DFP STAFF

Thousands of pro-choice protesters gathered at the front steps of the Massachusetts State House and marched through the surrounding streets May 3 in response to a leaked draft of a Supreme Court majority opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Politico obtained and published the 98-page draft written by Justice Samuel Alito to overturn both the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortions and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania  v. Casey — a 1992 case that upheld Roe and added additional provisions.

The Boston chapter of the Socialist Alternative, a national socialist advocacy group, announced the protest on Twitter on Tuesday. Claire Grossi, an activist with the BSA, addressed the crowd at the protest and said if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, abortion would become illegal overnight in 13 states.

“About 50 years ago today, it took a mass movement to win Roe v. Wade, and it’s going to take a mass movement now for us to defend it,” she said.

In the drafted opinion, which is not considered a final decision until it is published, Alito wrote both Roe and Casey must be overturned, and “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.” 

“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Alito wrote.

Abortions are currently legal in the United States. However, many states have limitations or requirements for getting them. Gestational limits are already present in 43 states, 18 states have state-mandated counseling, 25 states have a waiting period and 37 states have parental involvement requirements for minors.

Protester Lauren Pespisa, 34, said it is “offensive” that the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade. 

“As a woman, it’s extremely personal and obvious when my sisters are being threatened with death, with suffering,” Pespisa said. “[This was] something that our mothers and grandmothers fought for 30 years ago, to secure our ability to have basic healthcare like abortion.”

Planned Parenthood nurse Teresa Eliot Roberts spoke at the rally and recalled when the clinic she worked at became one of the two targets of a 1994 anti-abortion attack that killed her friend and coworker, Shannon Lowney.

“If the anti-choice movement were really pro-life, clinic providers wouldn’t be killed or threatened,” Roberts said, who works in Jamaicia Plain.

Pespisa said she is not only defending her own rights by protesting, but all affected by the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“Our government and elected officials know we need them to pass a law that actually keeps our abortion rights, instead of just relying on these old guys in the Supreme Court,” Pespisa said. 

Grossi said Democratic politicians have promised to protect women’s rights, but have “stood on the sidelines” once elected.

“I’m also sick and tired of Democrats using my body and rights as a talking point to get into and stay in office,” Grossi said. “We cannot rely on the courts and we cannot rely on the Democratic Party to defend our rights. We can rely only on ourselves.”

Qad Muhammad, 18, said they attended the protest “to get the attention of the Supreme Court.”. 

“I want my body to be free, and I want to be able to get an abortion safely,” Muhammad said.

Ruihan Yang contributed to the reporting of this article.

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