Hundreds of women's rights advocates flocked to City Hall Plaza Tuesday evening to speak out against two recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings that protesters say make it harder for women to safely access health care and plan their reproductive future.
Last month, the nation's highest court unanimously voted to strike down a 7-year-old protest-free buffer zone outside abortion clinics as unconstitutional, on the grounds that it violates the free speech of pro-life demonstrators.
A week later, the court ruled that craft chain Hobby Lobby can object on religious grounds to a provision of President Barack Obama's healthcare law that requires employers to provide insurance covering birth control.
Tonight, Boston Supreme Rally goers of both genders and a range of ages cheered on activists, like Hailey Magee of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, who declared "I personally don't want any bosses in my bedroom," and "Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate."
Speakers included Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as well as Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who roused the crowd with her emotive speech.
"For a host of reasons people often caution me for appearing angry in public," said Pressley. "I suppose folks worry that people will consider me an emotional women… I suppose folks worry that I'll be pigeon-holed as an angry feminist, or worse, an angry black woman. Well I'll tell you what, in my opinion there is no shame in being publicly angry… Damn right I'm outraged because my body is not your hobby."
"In the immortal words of [Congresswoman] Pat Schroeder, I have a uterus and a brain and they both work," said Pressley.
Walsh said he was "disappointed" and "disgusted" with the court's rulings, but said legislators would work to protect women trying to access reproductive health care.
"We will stand here every day if we have to to make sure that our voices get heard," said Walsh.
Governor Deval Patrick and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said legislators are drafting a bill that may give police more power to arrest pro-life demonstrators who harass or pose a threat to women entering abortion clinics.