Thousands of abortion rights activists gathered on the Boston Common and elsewhere Saturday afternoon as part of the Boston Bans Off Our Bodies Day of Action, pushing for greater protection of women's rights.
Down Boylston Street, activists held a sit-in at the Arlington Street intersection, blocking traffic before continuing to march. A gathering called Abortion on Demand and Without Apology was set for Copley Square Saturday afternoon.
“I just think it’s absolutely crazy that it’s 2022 and we’re still fighting for women’s rights,” said Haley Mahoney of Weymouth.
Speeches pumped up the crowd as did a march down Boylston Street.
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Traffic came to a standstill for a few minutes when one group sat down in the middle of the intersection of Boylson and Arlington streets as abortion rights activists made their way to Boston Common. “I hope it shows people that it’s not some religious or political issue,” said Mohamed Oday of Somerville. “I think it’s something bigger than that, I think it’s a human issue.”
Other rallies in the Boston area were planned as well, including in Worcester, Concord, Scituate, Attleboro, Newburyport and Plymouth.
Following the Supreme Court's leaked draft opinion to overturn the nearly 50-year precedent set by Roe v. Wade, "Day of Action" protests against it were being held nationwide Saturday, including marches, rallies and other events in several cities to demonstrate support for reproductive rights.
The multiple rallies were sponsored by various groups but they were all trying to send the same message to Washington.
“What the Supreme Court is trying to do is to for the first time in the history of our nation take away a constitutional freedom,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
The Boston Bans Off Our Bodies Day of Action event was sponsored by reproductive rights organizations Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts, Reproductive Equity Now and the ACLU of Massachusetts.
In 2020, they advocated for the state legislation that ensures abortion will remain legal in Massachusetts.
Many advocates and elected leaders, like Sen. Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, attended the event at the Common.