Several elected officials joined the Jersey City Young at an abortion rights rally at City Hall this afternoon, highlighted by several impassioned speeches and chants.
“We need to stand and show the Supreme Court and the rest of the right wing that we will not tolerate this s***,” said JCYD President Cory Garriga.
” … F*** that pro-life bull***. If you’re pro-life, you need to stand up for women’s choice, to choose, to protect themselves and give themselves the ability to do the right thing for themselves and their future. Going around and banning abortion puts a financial burden on everyone who is affected by it.”
Chants throughout the course of the action included “abort the court!” and “not the church, not the state, women must control our fate.” To that end, there was a wide range of signs, with one notable one stating “Why do guns have more rights than my vagina.”
Maxine Mandel, the JCYD secretary, said everyone should be outraged by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, because even though abortions are still legal in New Jersey, federal bans on birth control and gay marriage are still possible.
“We need to fix it across the United States,” she said.
Six elected officials participated in speaking portion of the program: Jersey City Councilwoman-at-Large Amy DeGise, Assemblywoman Dr. Sadaf Jaffer (D-16), Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), 8th District Democratic congressional nominee Rob Menendez, Ward E Councilman James Solomon, and Council President Joyce Watterman.
“We know that moving access or restricting access to abortion will not stop abortions. It will however kill countless women who have to go through unsafe and unthinkable practices to justify saving their own lives and livelihoods,” DeGise explained.
“I join you all to express my outrage at the Supreme Court decision to take away our right to control our own bodies, a right that we acquired for 50 years. This is a time of sadness in America: it shows that some of the so-called leaders of our country, to them, women’s lives don’t matter,” said Jaffer.
Mukherji, one of the primary sponsors of the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, said that matters before the Supreme Court should get the same type of mainstream media coverage that the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial received, as well as that this needs to be a wake up call to action.
He concluded his remarks with “spare me your Instagram outrage if you’re not doing your part.”
As for Menendez, he referred to himself as “a Proud, pro-choice Democrat” who would push to codify Roe vs. Wade, that the FDA allows for medication to be delivered via mail in states where abortion is banned, and repeal the Hyde amendment to allow federal funds to cover abortion across the board.
“Instead of taking steps toward a fairer, more equitable future, we’re taking a huge step back and we are putting it squarely on the backs of women and that is not something I will ever ****ing stand for,” he exclaimed.
Additionally, Solomon he asked the crowd if they were mad, pissed, and/or enraged, which was expectedly met with resounding yeses, before breaking it down.
“I’m enraged at senators who had the gall yesterday to express their concerns over this ruling while they do nothing. I’m enraged at Supreme Court nominees that lied with impunity to take away fundamental rights from Americans,” he stated, adding that they have no right to lecture us while school children have to participate in active shooter drills.
Watterman echoed a similar sentiment during her remarks.
“They have a lot of nerve in legislation to just come after a woman’s body, but the last time I checked it take[s] two partners to make a child,” she said to loud cheers and applause.
“Now, I love my brothers, I don’t have nothing against you, but we need to put something in there that says you can get a vasectomy to make this thing work. Stop coming after us: take your hands off our bodies, we won’t quit, we won’t be silenced, we gonna keep going on.”
This was the second protest in downtown Jersey City in light of SCOTUS’ decision, with the Hudson County DSA hosting a rally that began at Harborside near U.S. Senator Bob Menendez’s office before making their way to City Hall.
Tomorrow at 4 p.m., Watterman, DeGise, Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley, and Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey will be joined by Assemblywoman Angela McKnight for a protest at the City Hall Annex, located at 1 Jackson Square.