NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts
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Advocates Rally Against Anti-Woman Supreme Court Decisions

Advocates Rally Against Anti-Woman Supreme Court Decisions

Hundreds Attend Supreme Rally for Women’s Equality on Boston City Hall Plaza

July 8, 2014 Boston, MA – Hundreds of women’s rights supporters gathered for a rally on Tuesday, July 8 at 5 p.m. in response to recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that reduce access to reproductive health services and birth control and put women and healthcare providers at risk.

Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court struck down the Massachusetts Buffer Zone Law in McCullen v. Coakley as unconstitutional, giving anti-choice protesters free reign to harass women as they seek basic health services.And last Monday, the Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby allowed bosses to make medical decisions for their female employees by denying them insurance coverage for contraception.

"In McCullen and Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court has decided that when it comes to women making reproductive health care decisions, harassment aimed at women isn’t harassment and discrimination aimed at women isn’t discrimination,” said Megan Amundson, Executive Director for NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. "These decisions have sparked anger on the ground across the state. This rally is our starting point for building a movement to fight back. We will not tolerate having our rights chipped away. Today we begin our fight to make Massachusetts a model for providing all women with equal access to basic health care.”

Attorney General Martha Coakley defended the Buffer Zone Law at the Supreme Court and just last week joined Governor Deval Patrick to announce plans to introduce new legislation to protect women’s access to health care. Today she said, "We will not let the Supreme Court decisions stand as the last word, as we will continue the fight to protect women’s rights. We must act quickly to pass legislation to ensure that patients have access to reproductive health care free from violence and intimidation.”

Senate President Therese Murray joined the Attorney General in her support of finding a legislative solution as quickly as possible. "After all the progress we have made with women’s reproductive rights over the past many years, it’s unbelievable that we have been forced backwards in time by these rulings,” Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. "The Legislature is actively working with the Attorney General and the Governor to resolve the Court's concerns and find a legislative solution before the end of this session. It is our utmost priority that we restore the privacy and respect that has been taken away from women in the Commonwealth.”

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh also expressed a desire at the municipal level to guarantee safe access to clinics in the face of the Supreme Court decision. "When we learned of the Supreme Court ruling, I expressed my disappointment, and I am concerned with the position Boston is in following this ruling. The buffer zone was put in place as a public safety measure, and following this ruling, the Boston Police Department has provided additional police presence at facilities to protect women from being harassed and shamed.” He continued, "protesters deserve the right to exercise their First Amendment rights, but I have a responsibility to ensure the safety of women seeking care and the staff at these facilities. I will work closely with city departments to ensure the protection and safety for those entering and exitinghealth care facilities that provide abortion care."

Many of the speakers expressed outrage over moving backwards on women’s health, but event emcee Boston City Councilor At-Large Ayanna Pressley framed the issue in broader terms than just the buffer zone decision. She has long been an outspoken champion on issues that uniquely impact women, especially access to reproductive health services. She said, "You know, when I first ran for City Council, there were many powers that be who said, you should find another career path, saving girls and women isn't the work of a city councilor.During my first re-election pundits said, you can’t win a city-wide election by pushing an agenda focused on breaking cycles of poverty and violence. Well I’m glad I didn't listen. I think the residents of this great City have made it clear that these issues do matter and that there is no such thing as a woman’s issue. Anything that affects our girls and women, affects our brothers, fathers, entire families, and our communities. We cannot turn back the clock; we must move forward.”

The full list of speakers included: Attorney General Martha Coakley; Senate President Therese Murray; Speaker Pro Tempore Pat Hadaad; Boston Mayor Marty Walsh; Boston City Councilor At-Large Ayanna Pressley; Megan Amundson, Executive Director NARAL PCM; Kara Coredini, Executive Director MassEquality; Katie Hayden, Policy & Operations Manager MassNow; Miriam Mack, Policy Fellow ACLU of Massachusetts; Reverend Aaron Payson; Martha Walz, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts.

Co-Sponsoring Organizations: ACLU; Boston Area Rape Crisis Center; Boston Doula Project;

Catholics for Choice; Committee for Interns and Residents; EMA Fund; GLAD; Hollaback! Boston; Jane Doe Inc.; Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action; JRI Health; Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy;

Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus; MassEquality; MassNOW; Moishe Kavod House; NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts; National Association of Social Workers - MA Chapter; National Network of Abortion Funds; Out Now; Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts; Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministries; Women's Bar Association; YWCA Central Massachusetts.

Legislative Host Committee: Rep. Jennifer Benson; Rep. Paul Brodeur; Rep. Tom Conroy; Rep. Evandro Carvalho; Rep. Daniel Cullinane Rep. Marjorie Decker; Rep. Carolyn Dykema; Rep. Lori Ehrlich; Rep. Gloria Fox; Rep. Anne Gobi; Rep. Patricia Haddad; Rep. Jonathan Hecht; Rep. Kate Hogan; Rep. Jay Kaufman; Rep. Stephen Kulik; Rep. David Linsky; Rep. Timonthy Madden; Rep. Paul Mark; Rep. Alice Peisch; Rep. Denise Provost; Rep. Tom Sannicandro; Rep. Ellen Story; Rep. Aaron Vega; Rep. Chris Walsh.

Sen. Mike Barrett; Sen. William Brownsberger; Sen. Harriette Chandler; Sen. Cynthia Creem; Sen. Benjamin Downing; Sen. Jamie Eldridge; Sen. Barry Finegold; Sen. Jason Lewis; Sen. Stan Rosenberg; Sen. Karen Spilka; Senate President Therese Murray;

CONTACT: Megan Amundson, megan@prochoicemass.org, 617.462.3633

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Since 1972, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts has led the way in advancing reproductive freedom for women and families in the Commonwealth. Our mission is to develop and sustain a grassroots constituency that uses the political process to guarantee every woman the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy; bearing healthy children; and choosing safe, legal, accessible abortion. NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts is proud to be the political leader of the pro-choice movement here in the Commonwealth. We are a state affiliate of NARAL Pro-Choice America. Learn more at http://prochoicemass.org.

 
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