Megan Amundson has heard about pockets of protests around Massachusetts, where grassroots women’s rights activists have blasted the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the unconstitutionality of the buffer zone, and their decision to side with Hobby Lobby in the debate on contraception coverage.
But a rally planned on the steps of City Hall this week will be a culmination of those efforts, and will bring together dozens of groups to speak out loudly against “this giant step back” for women.
“This rally will be providing an outlet for the anger that has been bubbling up on the ground,” said Amundson, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. “People are really, really angry, and they’re also looking for a sense of community that they’re not the only ones who are upset about [the Supreme Court’s decisions].”
In total, 21 groups, including the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, the Women’s Bar Association, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts, GLAD, and Hollaback! Boston will convene on the steps outside of City Hall, and co-host the protest, called the “Supreme Rally for Women’s Equality,” on Tuesday evening at 5 p.m.
The list of co-sponsors has grown exponentially, as more people—both male and female—have stood up and expressed their frustration and disappointment with the court’s rulings.
At the end of last month, the Supreme Court justices ruled that the buffer zone separating pro-life advocates from patients walking into abortion clinics was unconstitutional, setting off a firestorm of protests across the state. Days later, the court decided that companies can call the shots when it comes to covering employee costs for contraceptives, adding “insult to injury,” said Amundson.
Amundson said since the time the buffer zone decision was handed down, protesters have been meeting outside of Planned Parenthood in Boston, and supporting people going in and out of the center. “They have been protesting the protesters,” she said. “That’s how energized people are.”
In the wake of the court’s buffer zone ruling, Governor Deval Patrick vowed to craft legislation with the help of elected officials and the legislature that would provide further protections to women visiting the clinics. Amundson said she’s confident and optimistic about the pending legislation that will be filed by Patrick and others in the coming weeks, but the rally will help keep people’s attention on the issue in the meantime.
The event this week will be the launching pad for even more pushback against the court’s decisions, and will serve as a chance for groups to coalesce and spread awareness about ways to help protect women’s rights. “It’s a great way to find other people within the community, and show support for women across the country,” said Amundson. “We are just getting started this is the first step of fighting back.”
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