Abortion rights supporters voice anger and disappointment over draft Supreme Court document

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  • Kelly Jean Omu holds up her sign at the Abortion Rights Rally at City Plaza in front of the State House on Tuesday. The event was put together by the Kent Street Coalition in reaction to a leaked draft decision by the Supreme Court, which might overturn Roe V. Wade. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Michelle Cilley Foisy (center) gets a hug after addressing the Abortion Rights Rally at City Plaza in front of the State House on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 with speakers that drew over 100 people. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Michelle Cilley Foisy holds up her sign in front of the President Franklin Pierce statue at the rally on Tuesday at the State House.

  • Louise Spencer of the Kent Street Coalition hugs State Representative Maria Perez at the Abortion Rights Rally on Tuesday. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Michelle Cilley Foisy pauses while telling her story to the members of the Abortion Rights Rally at the State House on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • State Representative Maria Perez gets a hug from U.S. Representative Annie Kuster The Abortion Rights Rally at City Plaza in front of the State House on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Louise Spencer of the Kent Street Coalition speaks to the crowd at the Abortion Rights Rally at City Plaza in front of the State House on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The crowd at the Abortion Rights Rally at City Plaza in front of the State House on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Madelyn McCluskey of Concord at the Abortion Rights Rally at City Plaza on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Angella Mullios (right) and her daughter, Delia, hold up signs on Main Street near the State House on Tuesday at an abortion rights rally.

  • he Abortion Rights Rally at City Plaza in front of the State House brought together by the Kent Street Coalition in reaction to the leaked Roe v. Wade draft decisTion by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • the Abortion Rights Rally at City Plaza in front of the State House brought together by the Kent Street Coalition in reaction to the leaked Roe v. Wade draft decision by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Published: 5/4/2022 6:21:24 PM

The list of speakers outside the State House Tuesday night to discuss abortion rights included U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster, Chris Pappas and State Sen. Becky Whitley.

Then it was Michelle Cilley Foisy’s turn.

Years ago, during a routine ultrasound, a doctor spotted something that didn’t look right in her unborn baby.

Foisy and her husband went to see a specialist who delivered devastating news: the baby had no chance of survival outside the womb. Heart wrenched, they followed the doctor’s recommendation and decided to medically terminate the pregnancy.

Foisy delivered her daughter, who she named Kayla.

“We did get to hold her for several hours but she had already passed, because the day before they go in, they do a cardiac injection where they actually have to stop the baby’s heart,” she told the crowd that had assembled less than 24-hours after a leaked draft document indicated the U.S. Supreme Court was preparing to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling. “Being a mom, I had to watch her heart stop, which is something that I’ll never forget.”

Another speaker was Jillian Andrews Dubois, a board member at the Reproductive Freedom Fund of New Hampshire, which helps raise money to help women pay for abortions.

“The majority of those seeking abortions are in fact, already mothers just trying to do what’s best for their health and their families,” Dubois said. “But no one should have to give any reason for not wanting to be forced to carry a pregnancy and give birth against their will.”

She shared her own personal story about a doctor’s warning after she gave birth to her son.

“A doctor told me that it could be dangerous to my health for me to carry another pregnancy, as my uterus had nearly ruptured when I was in labor,” she said. “If I were to become pregnant I would need an abortion. Abortion is healthcare!”

The first speaker of the night was Kuster, who said she wasn’t surprised by the draft opinion of the five conservative justices.

“What I was surprised by is the tone and that Justice Alito would take 98 pages to make the point that abortion was not written into the Constitution,” Kuster said. “Women weren’t in the Constitution. We know that the right to vote for women was not in the Constitution.”

She said the Constitution is a living, breathing document that must be flexible to modern concepts.

“As a survivor of assault, it was actually very difficult reading the tone and the vehemence,” Kuster said. “This is designed to set back women and it’s what autocratic governments do.”

The Supreme Court confirmed the leaked draft was an authentic document but said Tuesday “it does not represent a decision by the court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.” If the decision comes to pass, abortion rights would revert to the states.

Sixteen states, plus the District of Columbia, have passed laws directly allowing access to abortions. Meanwhile, there are 12 states, including New Hampshire, that have no relevant law ready to spring into effect, according to PolitiFact.

A total of 22 states already have laws on the books that would ban abortion completely or very early in a pregnancy, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a think tank that is pro-abortion rights but generally has the most up-to-date legislative data.

At least eight states have moved to strengthen existing protections or expand abortion access this year: California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, New Jersey, Maryland and Connecticut.

On Wednesday, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted against adding abortion protections into state law or the state Constitution.

Foisy didn’t need to be encouraged to come to Tuesday’s rally. She’s already been outspoken at legislative hearings on a bipartisan bill that clarified New Hampshire’s abortion ban by allowing for exceptions in the case of fatal fetal anomalies after 24-weeks of gestation.

“I came to the State House to tell my story and Kayla’s story so other women who have to go through something so horrible don’t have people tell them that they can’t. It’s not okay,” Foisy said. “No matter what your reason is for going through an abortion, it’s not okay for someone else to tell you that you can’t.”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.




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