Local demonstrators gather outside Northampton City Hall to protect Roe v. Wade

Demonstrators all gathered with one message – they are asking lawmakers to protect peoples’ rights to choose what to do with their bodies.
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 10:14 PM EDT
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NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - People across western Massachusetts continue to speak out about the possibility of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. This has had people talking, and worrying, since it was leaked Monday night.

A rally was held outside Northampton City Hall Tuesday evening. Demonstrators all gathered with one message – they are asking lawmakers to protect peoples’ rights to choose what to do with their bodies.

“Making abortion illegal doesn’t stop abortion,” said Smith College Women and Gender Studies Professor Carrie Baker. “It just makes it harder to get and more dangerous.”

Demonstrators gathered outside Northampton City Hall as part of a national protest to protect Roe v. Wade.

This came one day after a leaked draft opinion suggested the Supreme Court may overturn the landmark case.

“This will have a devastating effect on anyone who can have a child, anyone who can get pregnant,” said Northampton Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra.

All over the country, members of the Women’s March group took to the streets at 5 p.m. to make their voices heard. Local organizers said this decision, set to be released in June, would affect communities disproportionately.

“It’s going to change people’s lives,” said Valley Women’s March member Debby Pastrich-Klemer. “Young women, they won’t be able to go to college. People with means are going to be able to get taken care of no matter what. It’s the lower-income people that are not going to be able to go to college, have careers.”

Dozens of passionate demonstrators turned out chanting, holding signs, and even singing. They said it feels like the country is going back on progress.

“We’ve lived it,” Carolyn Oppenheim of the Western Mass Raging Grannies told us. “Fifty years ago, I was thirty in 1972 when Illinois, where I lived, passed an abortion law before the federal government did.”

Many argued that barring access to these health services is dangerous.

“Emergency rooms were filled with women that had sepsis and were bleeding,” Baker told us. “Women had terrible experiences trying to get abortions illegally.”

Abortion would still be legal in Massachusetts if the final opinion is made because its right is protected under state law.

“It would be decided on a state-by-state basis,” said attorney Kelly Koch. “For instance, in Massachusetts, there wouldn’t be any change because there is access, abortion is legal.”

However, Mayor Sciarra told Western Mass News that they will continue to fight for people in all states to have these rights.

“If your rights can be stripped away when you cross a border into another state, then no one truly has rights over their bodies,” she said.

Organizers told us that this was certainly not the last event, so we will continue to bring you the latest coverage on local events.

We also reached out to Planned Parenthood who provided us with a statement that read, quote:

“We knew this decision was likely coming, but today, it is just a draft decision — abortion is still legal here in Massachusetts and across the country. PPLM is here for our patients today, and always.”