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Hundreds gather in Plattsburgh to support abortion rights

Hundreds gather for a "Rally for Roe" in Plattsburgh
Pat Bradley
Hundreds gather for a "Rally for Roe" in Plattsburgh

Days after the Supreme Court overruled federal abortion rights, Planned Parenthood of the North Country held a Rally for Roe in Plattsburgh’s Trinity Park Monday evening.

The rally drew more than 200 people of all ages and genders to the park adjacent to Plattsburgh City Hall.

Many were not only concerned about the U.S. Supreme Court decision’s impact on abortion access but the potential erosion of other rights, as alluded to in Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurrence in the 6-3 decision.

Aurora Fuller of Plattsburgh came to the rally with her husband Bradlee, who is originally from Massachusetts

"It’s devastating," Aurora said. "It’s outrageous.”

"I mean ludicrous," Bradlee interjected.

“Yes that’s another word ludicrous, “ agrees Aurora. “I think that they’re not going to stop at just what they’ve done. They’re going to continue with other rights, taking away everything.”

“I believe that they are coming after everything that makes us free which is completely detrimental to us as American citizens and that we should fight for these freedoms right now so we don’t have to fight for them for our kids, for our kids’ kids," Bradlee said. "And if we don’t stop it now well it’s going to continue.”

City resident Chris Whalen agrees that the decision is not just about abortion.

“It will disenfranchise the already disenfranchised people of the states that are going to have these restrictions on them," Whalen said. "And I think it’s going to lead into a lot of other rights: same gender marriages, contraception even with married couples. It may even go back to the time when men have to make the decisions for their wives whether they can take contraception or not. It’s a scary, scary time.”

Standing next to Whalen at the rally was Susan Brecht, who lives in Plattsburgh but holds dual citizenship with the U.S. and Canada.

“Canada doesn’t understand this," Brecht said. "In Canada this is under health care. There is no separating an abortion. Women’s health care is health care. The world is wondering what is going on here. The world really doesn’t understand why we’re turning the clock back so dramatically and in such a negative way.”

Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York CEO Tess Barker said the organization held the rally because people need an outlet for their anger over the Supreme Court decision.

“We have just in one day set back women’s rights 50 years," Barker said. "We have overturned precedent. People are angry. They want their rights back and they want their voices heard. I also think we can’t take anything for granted. I mean we took Roe for granted and 50 years later look what has happened.”

Barker stood on a picnic table to rouse the crowd and then invited others to talk about their experiences and concerns.

14-year old Dana Lavalley stepped up.

“What if I get assaulted? What if I’m forced to have sex? Because of this law I’d be forced to have a baby," Lavalley said. "That’d be my entire life affected by this one law and my life is not your responsibility. So don’t put your laws on my body and my life.”

“I was tricked into loving someone and I had to worry whether or not I was going to carry that child at 14-years-old," said 18-year-old Sophia Newstead of Plattsburgh. "No. I had the choice. And they're trying to take it from us? They’re messing with the wrong generation.”

There was no counter-protest and the rally remained peaceful.

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