Jul. 9—MASSENA — Chants of "two, four, six, eight, separation of church and state!" and "Pro-life is a lie, you don't care if people die!" echoed up and down Massena's Main Street as nearly 100 people congregated to protest the unmaking of Roe v. Wade.
The Rally for Roe was organized by Kristie S. Winston, Courtney Frank, Lauren Gonser, and Gina Marlowe, all of whom felt it was necessary to demonstrate against the recent Supreme Court decision.
"The reason for deciding to do this rally is because I was devastated along with millions of other women when I first heard the news that Roe v. Wade was overturned on June 24," Ms. Winston said.
"I knew what this meant for women in the United States, that we would no longer have a federal constitutional right to abortion which has been protected since 1973."
At 9 am, everyone gathered in front of the Massena Community Center to hear speakers including Matt Putorti, who's running to unseat Elise Stefanik in the NY-21 congressional race.
"We need to be very clear," he said. "This decision is anti-woman, and will have deadly consequences for women."
"This is not about life or family, because if it was, then we would have paid childcare, family leave and an assault weapons ban," he said.
Around 10 am, the rallyists split into two groups, with one walking towards the McDonald's and the other walking toward the center of town. Eventually, both groups reconvened at the Massena Town Hall to hear more people speak.
"We need to vote," said Ms. Frank, who emphasized the importance of participating in the political process.
"It does matter, and your vote does count," she said.
Legislator Margaret G. Haggard, D-Potsdam, said she remembers a time before Roe, and can't imagine returning to it.
"The thought of losing the right to choose is unimaginable," she said.
"I am here not as a legislator but as a woman to protest the decision of a rogue Supreme Court. Women's rights are and always will be human rights," she said.
Other women spoke from personal experience about needing abortions and other forms of reproductive healthcare, which may now be inaccessible to others. The whole time, dozens of cars honked in support, while a small few shouted in disagreement.
"The purpose of this rally is to organize like-minded people who support the pro-choice movement," Ms. Winston said.
"We are sending a clear message to lawmakers and citizens alike that we will not stand for losing rights."
She said she is helping to form a progressive organization that will help women at the local, state, and national levels obtain access to abortions.
"We will be providing assistance and efforts in helping individuals as well as teaming with other organizations that have similar goals," she said.
"Our immediate goal is to create solidarity at the local level and encourage our fellow progressive allies to vote for Democrats at the polls this November."
For more information about the organization, contact Ms. Winston at 315-854-4350.