Massachusetts

Crowds Gather at Massachusetts State House to Rally for Abortion Rights

While abortions would remain legal in Massachusetts even if the Supreme Court overturns the ruling, those who rallied said they intend to protect those rights for everyone

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Dozens gathered outside the Massachusetts State House on Tuesday holding signs and chanting, protesting the potential for Roe. v. Wade to be overturned and abortion rights across the country thrown into question.

Grassroots organizers planned major rallies across Boston in support of abortion rights following a bombshell Politico report that a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion appears likely to overturn Roe v. Wade this summer.

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Protesters gathered outside the Massachusetts State House, among other locations, as the nation works to absorb the shock of the stunning leak surrounding one of the country's most historic and controversial cases.

While the decision has not been finalized, those who showed up said it was important for them to fight to protect reproduction rights.

Margaret Marshall, the former chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, is still reeling from the leak of Justice Samuel Alito‘s draft opinion that would end the constitutional right to an abortion in the United States.

While abortions would remain legal in Massachusetts even if the Supreme Court overturns the ruling, those who rallied said they intend to protect those rights for everyone.

"It's important to take a stand, just to visualize the fact that it's not what the majority is for," Gabrielle Jaques, a Boston resident, said. "So even if it's not going to impact me or my loved ones today or tomorrow the fact that it's even under discussion, this idea that women can't choose for themselves, something has to be done."

The U.S. Supreme Court released a statement confirming the authenticity of the Politico report Tuesday as well. Chief Justice John Roberts, who forcefully condemned the breach, said he had directed the court marshal to conduct a full investigation into the source of it. 

"To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed," Roberts' statement said. "The work of the Court will not be affected in any way. We at the Court are blessed to have a workforce – permanent employees and law clerks alike – intensely loyal to the institution and dedicated to the rule of law."

"Court employees have an exemplary and important tradition of respecting the confidentiality of the judicial process and upholding the trust of the Court," Roberts continued. "This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here. I have directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak."

A leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court, obtained by Politico, shows the court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Some states, including Massachusetts, have already enacted laws specifically legalizing abortion regardless of Roe, and those laws may hold regardless of the ruling. Still, many Massachusetts residents and politicians outraged over the reported leak want their voices heard.

Tuesday's events follow an unprecedented leak to Politico that indicates the draft opinion following oral arguments last December had the backing of five justices to completely overturn Roe vs Wade.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said the decision would be a "massive setback" for women in states without laws protecting abortion access.

Earlier in the day, about a half dozen state and local leaders and reproductive rights activists gathered on the State House steps to respond to the Roe v. Wade news.

"I woke up this morning very dejected," Senate President Karen Spilka said. "I believe this is one of the saddest days in the United States' history."

"This is the emergency we all feared. But this is America, this is a clarion call for us to take action. In America, we all have a voice. We will not be silent. We will not go quietly. We will not go on to a devastating future that seeks to treat us as second-class citizens."

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu called it "a cold day in Boston and around the country."

"This morning, I bundled up my boys for school, wrapped them in their winter coats, and I suited up for battle for the fight we're all in -- the fight for their future, for a future all our communities deserve," she said. "This isn't a final decision, but it is one we've been expecting... Today is a fight. We are here, we are ready, we will not back down."

President Joe Biden released a statement on the leaked report Tuesday. Read that here and learn more about the potential impact in Massachusetts here.

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