Island Residents "Rally For Roe"

JohnCarl McGrady •

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Island residents and visitors gathered outside the Nantucket Town & County Building on Broad Street early Sunday afternoon despite the rainy weather to protest the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which overturned Roe v. Wade and allowed U.S. states to ban abortions.
Headed by an impassioned Alexandra Giroux, who often veered from her prepared remarks to rail against pro-life politicians and lead the crowd in chants, protestors took turns speaking about reproductive rights. Impromptu speeches from protestors ranged from anecdotes in support of Planned Parenthood to fiery condemnations of the U.S government and warnings that the Supreme Court wasn’t going to stop at banning abortion.

One protestor said the Supreme Court decision could only end in bloodshed. Another said that parents should come up with code words their children could use to avoid saying that they are pregnant.

“When the rules of a government pose an existential threat to us, we need to pose an existential threat to that government,” Giroux said.

After Giroux finished speaking, the crowd marched around town chanting “we will not go back” and “my body, my choice.”

“We know that the only abortions these bans are going to stop are the safe abortions," Giroux said. “Women will still get abortions.”

“An abortion is a life-saving treatment," Giroux continued. "Furthermore, women who have experienced a miscarriage, they might not have even meant to terminate their pregnancy, they can still be arrested in certain states. Their doctors no longer have to keep their medical privacy private because that was what was at stake. Our medical privacy, which applies not only to people with uteruses but to every single one of us.”

The crowd of over 50 people, many carrying signs, included both longtime Nantucket residents and first-time visitors from all across the country who brought a national perspective to the local rally.

Since the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, many states have banned abortions, often with no exceptions, and depending on the results of the November midterms elections and pending court cases, the number of states with abortion bans could continue to swell

“It’s so important to keep in mind that we are not just talking about abortion,” Giroux added. “We are talking about birth control, we’re talking about gay marriage, we’re talking about interracial marriage, we’re talking about IVF [in vitro fertilization], the list goes on and on.”

The Nantucket protest was organized by ACK Rally for Roe, an informal collective of local reproductive rights advocates headed by Giroux and Sage Geddes, with assistance from Indivisible Nantucket. Part of a nationwide organization, Indivisible has contributed institutional support to causes on the island ranging from reproductive rights to gun control to immigration reform.

ACK Rally for Roe aims to raise $1,000 for reproductive rights throughout July, though during the rally, Giroux suggested that they could raise significantly more than that—perhaps as much as $10,000—if enough people spread the word.

Initially scheduled for Saturday, the protest was delayed by the intense thunderstorm that rocked the island that morning, though several advocates met at the courthouse despite the torrential rains carrying their signs through the lightning.

This was the second rally organized by Giroux and Geddes since the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women Health leaked in May, but as one protestor pointed out, it was far from the second rally advocating for abortion rights that some of the protestors had attended. Some had been involved with reproductive rights advocacy before Roe v. Wade was even decided almost 50 years ago.

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