Nikki Fonsh: Many reasons to take a stand

Published: 8/11/2023 4:55:17 PM

Last year, as I walked away from a standout in Northampton protesting the overturn of Roe, a man approached me and in a mocking tone asked, “Why in the world do you need a protest here in Massachusetts?” I asked if he lived nearby and it turned out he was from New York City.

It was during my time living in NYC when I first started volunteering with abortion funds. Volunteering for these funds brought me a greater awareness of how hard it is to access abortion care, even in so-called blue states. I explained this to the visitor and also how abortion access was not equal or fully accessible even before Roe was overturned in any state. In rural parts of Massachusetts especially, people have to travel many miles to access care. This adds to the cost of care, not in just the procedure cost but the cost of time off work, gas, transportation, etc. Additionally, fake pregnancy centers outnumber actual abortion clinics 3:1 in Massachusetts and pose a major threat to people seeking unbiased reproductive health care.

It is exactly that mentality of “what are you so worried about, we are a good state” that led to what happened in Easthampton last week. Where a supposed champion of reproductive rights, Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, vetoed the City Council’s ordinance protecting reproductive and gender-affirming health care. She was joined by three city councilors, including City Council President Homar Gomez who changed his vote from a yes for the ordinance to a no against it, for reasons which still remain unclear.

At least with the anti-choice movement, they are clear they want to strip away power from people to make decisions about their bodies and lives. It’s almost worse when it is your supposed friends and allies who back down from supporting and protecting their constituents, just when it is needed the most. This is why even in the so-called good states, we need to be loud, we need to keep showing up, and we need to ask who is really interested in standing up with us. Even in good ole blue Massachusetts.

Nikki Fonsh


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