Islanders rally against abortion bans

Protest was part of a nationwide effort.

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Islanders took to Five Corners Tuesday evening, joining thousands of Americans in protest of the restrictive abortion laws in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Missouri.

“I did this in the ’70s,” said Ellen O’Brien of Oak Bluffs.

So did Maggie and Gene Shreve of Vineyard Haven. “This was the most important thing for my generation,” Maggie said. “I’m horrified we’re back.”

Mia Lewis is a seasonal Island resident who lives in Ohio year-round. “This is just anti-women,” she said. “The last thing we expected to happen is happening.”

People held signs that read ‘Enough,’ ‘Choice,’ ‘Save Roe,’ and ‘Families Care About Families.’ About 30 Islanders attended the rally, organized by Indivisible Martha’s Vineyard.

“This is a national day of action to protest the medieval antiabortion laws being passed in several states,” said Carla Cooper, founder of Indivisible M.V. “I don’t know about you, but the Republican party’s coup against women’s reproductive freedom has rocked me to my core …The restrictive and prohibitive laws have nothing to do with the sanctity of life.”

Cooper cited that Alabama ranks 49th in the country for infant mortality. Georgia ranks 45th, and Ohio ranks 41st. “These are the same states that also rank lowest in the country for access to affordable prenatal and postnatal healthcare. These are not laws of love to protect babies. These are laws of oppression to subjugate women.”

Susan Desmarais is a retired bereavement counselor, and serves on the executive board of Friends of Family Planning.

“I’ve had the privilege of supporting women as they move through pregnancy loss, miscarriage, stillbirth, and abortion,” Desmarais said. “To have to go out of state to have procedures is such a horrific thing …This administration is shaming women who have made that heartbreaking choice.”

Cooper encouraged demonstrators to go home and contact state Rep. Dylan Fernandes and Sen. Julian Cyr. “Ask them to continue their strong support of the Roe act,” she said. “We’re going to help elect prochoice candidates here in Massachusetts in every election, at every level, every single year.”