By Barrett Seaman—
A line-up of Pro-Choice activists and their political allies stirred a crowd of several hundred sign-bearing residents representing a range of gender preferences at Tarrytown’s Patriot Park on Saturday, May 14. The event was part of a nationwide string of such rallies organized under the rubric “Bans Off Our Bodies.”
The largest contingent at the Tarrytown rally appeared to be women old enough to remember what life was like before Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. If there were fewer young women present, there were repeated pleas to get them involved—in particular to vote. “Teach the young people to vote,” implored one speaker, Catherine Lederer-Plaskett, president of the Westchester Coalition for Legal Abortion, “because if you do not, we will be here until eternity doing exactly what we’re doing now.”
Several officeholders who have championed various pieces of pro-choice legislation also spoke. MaryJane Shimsky, the county legislator representing a district that includes the rivertowns and Greenburgh, is co-author of the Reproductive Health Care Facilities Access Act crafted to prevent local pro-life activists from disrupting abortion clinics. “Look to New York,” she said, alluding to the state’s strong pro-choice policies. “Look to the women of New York. We’re going to get this thing done.”
Shimsky’s incumbent opponent in the upcoming Democratic primary, 92nd District Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, declared: “This is not a woman’s fight. This is everyone’s fight. Abortion is health care; health care is a human right.” Twice, Abinanti, who is responsible for several pro-choice laws passed by the state legislature, led the crowd in a chant of “Don’t go back.”
Amy Paulin, who represents the 88th District, allowed, “I feel very sad. I’ve been marching for 50 years.” The frustration inherent in the Alito draft opinion that appears to signal the imminent demise of Roe v. Wade has driven her to the brink of despair.
Allison Fine, a Sleepy Hollow author and proponent of technology as a tool for non-profits, also spoke on behalf of another of her causes: Plan C, the abortion-inducing pill that was approved by the FDA more than 20 years ago. Fine promoted increased availability of the Plan C pill through nurse practitioners and internists, arguing that as states move to crack down on access to abortion procedures, the Plan C pill can serve to counter those restrictions. The pill, she argued, can cross state lines when a woman seeking to terminate a pregnancy cannot.
Other speakers included Madison Norwich, head of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, Amanda Wallwin, a candidate for the Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow school board, Amy Vale, representing Hispanic Democrats of Westchester, Donna Perazzo, a storyteller and community member who shared a personal experience with abortion, and County Legislator Vedat Gashi. The rally was organized under the leadership of Elizabeth Skoski.Read or leave a comment on this story...