Islanders will be gathering in front of Edgartown District Court at 5 pm Tuesday, May 3, to rally against the reported draft majority opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that shows the court is likely to vote to overturn the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade. The court opinion was first reported by Politico.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” Alito wrote in the draft, according to Politico. He continued that Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey “have enflamed debate and deepened division.”
Carla Cooper from Indivisible Martha’s Vineyard told The Times there was a national call to action made by activists to “meet at their local courthouses because this is a judicial decision and it’s symbolic to be at a place where judicial decisions are being made.”
Roe v. Wade is the 1973 court case that protected women’s access to abortion and the “right to privacy,” particularly during the first trimester, according to the Chicago-Kent College of Law’s Supreme Court decision archive website Oyez. The decision passed with a 7-2 vote at the time.
The current draft is regarding the court case of Thomas E. Dobbs, State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health, et al. v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, et al. According to Oyez, this case looks at whether Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, which bans nearly all abortions after 15 weeks, is unconstitutional.
“This is the result of decades of right-wing religious extremists infiltrating our political system. This has been their long game with the ultimate goal of overturning the right to safe and legal abortion,” Cooper said. “The ultimate goal is to control women. We’re going to see an attack on birth control. We’re going to see an attack on gay marriage, that’s coming. We’re going to see an attack on interracial marriage. They want to bring us back to the turn of the 20th century. We’re really gearing up for this fight.”
Cooper listed other ongoing efforts to protect abortion access alongside the rally, such as pushing Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act and campaigns for Democratic legislators in swing states. Locally, activists are working with state Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, and state Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro, to get a bill together that would provide legal protection to abortion providers who served women from states with anti-abortion legislation.
“In Massachusetts, there are things we can do for Massachusetts and to protect women coming from out-of-state coming here,” Cooper said. “But, there needs to be federal action on this and the best thing [people] can do is continue to put pressure on Senator [Elizabeth] Warren and Senator [Ed] Markey to push this Women’s Health Protection Act in the Senate and to do whatever they can to put pressure on their colleagues and President [Joe] Biden to make this a priority.”