Within just a couple of hours after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade and ended the constititional right to abortions, more than dozen Marblehead women gathered at Tent’s Corner, waving signs and flags and chanting “Honk for choice!”
“I never thought we would be back here again,” said Ginny O’Brien through tears. “I’m worried about my granddaughter and the future for all girls and women. Abortion is a human right.”
Amy Hirschkron carried a sign reading “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology.” She is worried that a federal abortion ban might be coming soon.
“I’m also concerned that we’re going to lose others rights… birth control, gay marriage, interracial marriage.”
Maddie Miller said she felt a “moral obligation” to come out and protest as soon as she heard the decision. She is also afraid about what might happen next. “As an LGBTQ youth, I’m worried. We all deserve better.”
Kathy Hempel, chair of the Town Democratic Committee, was there and called for action in Congress to protect abortion rights.
“We need to get out the vote,” she said. “We need enough senators to get rid of the filibuster”.
Jenny Armini, who is running for state representative in the 8th Essex district (which includes Marblehead) said even though Massachusetts has abortion protections, local residents shouldn’t get complacent.
“We have access issues in Massachusetts,” Armini said at the protest. “There aren’t as many providers as people think there are.”
Armini, who worked at a Planned Parenthood clinic in college, said she supports proposed legislation at the State House to increase funding for abortion access and security, especially as more women from across the country may be traveling here for abortions.
“I’ve lived in Massachustts my whole life and was able to have a safe abortion,” said Jennifer Martelli, as she waved a “My Body, My Choice” flag. “Now my daughter won’t be able to do that.”
Another woman, who asked not to give her name, said America is on a “slow march to facism. Red states are asking people to report on their neighbors and on their doctors.”
Dozens of cars driving by honked and waved in support. The women said they hadn’t seen any negative responses so far.
Several other local protests were planned on Friday, including a candlelight vigil at Abbot Hall at 8 p.m. organized by the Marblehead High School Democratic Club.