Rallygoers denounce ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ in Greenfield 

By BELLA LEVAVI

Staff Writer

Published: 05-13-2023 10:07 PM

GREENFIELD — A lot was taking place at once on the common Saturday morning, whether it was people shopping at the weekly farmer’s market, protesting against anti-abortion centers and gun violence, listening to a folk band, or remembering The Nakba — also known as the Palestinian catastrophe.

But the largest event to draw a crowd was a rally against anti-abortion centers, also known as “crisis pregnancy centers” which drew about 100 people from across Franklin and Hampshire counties. The march was part of a group of actions that took place across the state last weekend and organized by Indivisible Massachusetts Coalition’s Feminist Action Team.

The Greenfield rally was organized to protest Alternatives Pregnancy Center located at 466 Main St. for what rallygoers described as not providing its clients with complete information to make decisions about abortions.

“Our generation demands comprehensive sex education to take control of our human health care. It is our fundamental right to receive accurate nonbias information,” said 16-year-old Marison Pierce Bonifaz, a member of Generation Ratify Amherst, in a speech at the rally.

Pierce Bonifaz left her speech with the message that people must fight for human rights and one way to do this exposing anti-abortion centers.

Attempts to reach a representative of Alternatives Pregnancy Center were unsuccessful, but the nonprofit’s website states that it offers pregnancy tests, ultrasound referrals, pregnancy consultations, abortion information and post-abortion support. However, the organization does not perform abortions.

The organizers of the rally referred to the group on the common as a multi-generational coalition at work from 14-year-old Cady Reiken who traveled to Greenfield from Amherst as part of the Generation Ratify Amherst organization, a national youth-led movement that advocates for gender equality, to Greenfield’s Mayor Roxann Wedegartner who served on the board of directors of Family Planning in the area for 23 years.

The protesters’ messages varied at the rally, but they all spoke to the same need for transparent information when it comes to making decisions about abortions.

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Pat Hynes, of Montague, and a representative from Traprock Center for Peace and Justice, also spoke at the rally. Her message was that a majority of Americans support abortion and democracy is being undermined by corporate groups.

“Misogyny and injustice fuel the control of women’s bodies,” Hynes said.

The Supreme Court’s recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, which ruled that the Constitution protects a person’s right to an abortion, was discussed as the reason exposing the work of anti-abortion centers has become so urgent now.

From the common, the group marched three blocks down Main Street where they stood on the sidewalk in front of Alternatives Pregnancy Center, concluding their rally.

“Crisis pregnancy centers are not just fake clinics that disrupt reproductive health care, but also part of an organizing strategy for the far right to build support, claim public space in our communities and develop an audience for their ideas,” Annie Wood, of River Valley Democratic Socialists of America, said. “Unless we stand up now more will come to our state with this mission.”

Reach Bella Levavi at 413-930-4579 or blevavi@recorder.com.

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