Letter: Young Writers Encourage Override Of Easthampton Mayor’s Veto Of Health Care Ordinance


Photo: mental health care coalition on Twitter.

by Ava Smith, Ollie Perault and Alice Jenkins

Note: The Easthampton City Council, at their meeting on August 2, failed to override the Mayor’s veto of an ordinance protecting reproductive and gender affirming health care. Read the story in the Daily Hampshire Gazette here.

On Wednesday, July 5, the Easthampton City Council passed an ordinance sponsored by Councilors Owen Zaret, Koni Denham, and Salem Derby, protecting reproductive and gender affirming care. This ordinance was initially introduced to combat deceptive advertising from crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). On July 6, this critical ordinance was vetoed by Easthampton Mayor, Nicole LaChapelle. 

Massachusetts prides itself on being progressive, and inclusive. A safe space for all. Without legislation such as this, we are failing as a Commonwealth to live up to those standards. As we have seen in multiple scenarios over the last year, laws and precedent are never a guarantee. These are our rights, this is our future, and it is essential that we provide every layer of protection possible to cement the right to abortion in our community. 

The youth in our area are extremely passionate and we have continued to fight hard to ensure safe and secure access to reproductive and gender affirming health care. 

“As a young woman who spent middle and high school at the Williston Northampton School, I am invested in the town of Easthampton.  An ordinance such as this gives me confidence that our individual healthcare and freedoms are protected and valued. This way, Easthampton can set a precedent for protecting reproductive healthcare as a leader in what will hopefully become a multitude of local ordinances that protect our fundamental human rights,” said Williston student Ava Smith.

The ordinance prevents municipal employees and agents from reporting or providing personal information regarding individuals seeking reproductive healthcare services. This protects residents seeking abortion, or any other reproductive healthcare service, from targeting by anti-choice individuals or out of state litigation. This ordinance would support and provide further protection to individuals seeking reproductive healthcare. Abortion is legalized across the commonwealth, and young adults sixteen and older can receive abortions without permission from their legal guardians. The City of Easthampton cannot infringe on this right to reproductive healthcare. The ordinance would additionally encourage further education regarding the resources available for those seeking reproductive healthcare across the commonwealth. This ordinance would provide crucial protections and set as an example for other municipal governments in Massachusetts.

City Councilors of Easthampton, we ask you to override Mayor LaChapelle’s veto and support the futures of young people like us, and protect the right to bodily autonomy.  

Ava Smith, Williston Student

OIlie Perrault, Easthampton Resident

Alice Jenkins, Generation Ratify Amherst

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