City, News

Latest restriction on abortion rights sparks local protest

Abortion rally
Protesters at the Boston Common on Saturday. Around 30 protesters gathered in response to a Texas ruling that threatened to remove abortion pills. TAYLOR COESTER/DFP STAFF

Around 30 protesters demanded legalized abortion Saturday at Boston Common, after a Texas ruling threatened to remove abortion pills from the market on April 7. 

As of December 2022, abortion pills account for 53% of all facility-based pregnancy terminations, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization focused on sexual and reproductive health rights.

The ruling, delivered by Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, invalidated the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion pill mifepristone and banned mailed prescriptions of the drug while also shortening its window of usage from the first 10 weeks of pregnancy to the first seven. The ruling came less than a year after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health where the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to an abortion.

“[It] represents the most dramatic escalation of the assault on the right to abortion since Roe v. Wade was overturned,” Kathy Lawrence, a volunteer with Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, said during the protest. 

Lawrence said given the recent decisions of the court, protesting is the only way to protect abortion access.

“The main orientation is really we need to get people out in the streets,” Lawrence said. “That’s how [the right to abortion] was won in the first place, and we need to be out there again to win them back.”

Susan Etscovitz, who got an abortion before the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, spoke during the protest about her procedure at a time when it was unsafe.

“This is a very important cause to me having grown up in a time when women couldn’t access abortion legally,” Etscovitz said. 

Etscovitz said seeing the government dismantle abortion rights yet again is “very discouraging.” 

“It’s going back to the dark ages if you ask me,” Etscovitz said. “I’m scared stiff. I don’t trust the Supreme Court, as far as you can tell, on anything.” 

Gov. Maura Healey stockpiled 15,000 doses of mifepristone last week to fight back against Kacsmaryk, and President Joe Biden asked the Supreme Court to block the judge’s ruling.

Yulia Bulgakova, a participant who has regularly attended protests since Roe v. Wade was overturned, said abortion rulings could impact people in liberal states even if they feel safe under left-leaning local officials. 

“If the Supreme Court upholds that ruling, it could ban abortion basically everywhere,” Lawrence said. “It could make it illegal even in states where it’s legal now.”

Tara Myles, mother of two children, spoke during the protest about how an abortion saved her from a life-threatening pregnancy. 

“I’m one of five of my friends who’ve had to have a life-saving abortion after having children,” Myles said. “I’m not the only one, and I think we need to stand up and say that out loud.”  

After Myles shared her abortion story with the crowd, her daughter led the next chant, yelling “my body” into the speakerphone as the crowd responded with “my choice.” 

Protestor Scott Gilbert urged men to support the cause on behalf of women. 

“Get your freaking asses up out of the couch and into the streets,” Gilbert said. “If women aren’t free, nobody’s free.” 

Dan Potthoff, who attended the protest, said abortion rights affected the lives of everyone he knows.

“I think it’s completely ridiculous,” Potthoff said. “I think all these things [are] trying to control women’s bodies through government or really religious means … it’s disgusting and really un-American.”

Comments are closed.