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Tufts Medical Center workers plan walkout Friday to protest draft opinion that would overturn Roe

Workers and students at Tufts Medical Center plan to stage a noontime walkout Friday to protest the draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion, organizers said Thursday.

In a statement, walkout organizers said workers from several departments and students will join the walkout and rally for abortion rights.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many people plan to protest, though organizers said dozens are expected.

Asked for comment on the planned walkout, a Tufts Medical Center spokesman provided a statement on the Supreme Court draft opinion from parent company, Tufts Medicine.

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“Even when a pregnancy is planned and wanted, there are times when abortion procedures must be performed to save a life,” said the statement from Tufts Medicine. “At Tufts Medicine, we are dedicated to achieving the best health for all. While we understand that abortion is an emotionally charged issue with passionate, thoughtful people on both sides, and many different diverse views and perspectives, we have a responsibility to do everything possible to keep our patients safe.”

The company said Tufts Medicine stands “with our colleagues across the country who work daily to help individuals with reproductive decisions. As the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists and the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine advocate, decisions about when to continue and when to end a pregnancy are medical decisions and must be individualized in consultation with clinicians.”

The hour-long demonstration, the organizers’ statement said, will not disrupt patient care, and organizers are telling staffers who plan to join that they should “ensure continuity of care” in their departments.

“A conservative minority is threatening our patients’ rights, and it is going to cause irreparable harm and death,” said Dr. Yash Patel, radiology resident at Tufts Medical Center and a lead organizer of the walkout, in the statement. “They are counting on us to be too tired and exhausted to speak out, but we have to stand up and fight.”

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Patel said via email that 25 to 50 people were expected to attend, and that organizers were “hoping to get more as word of mouth spreads.”

His words in the statement were echoed by Liam Easton-Calibria, a member of Boston Socialist Alternative, a group that’s helped organize several recent rallies in the area.

“Protests are an important step, but we need to escalate the fight,” Easton-Calibria said in the release. “School and workplace actions like these are how we can actually shut things down and have the best shot at forcing the Supreme Court to reverse its decision before it’s released this summer.”

Easton-Calibria said Thursday afternoon via email that “various departments [at Tufts Medical Center] and the medical school are currently organizing for turnout” for Friday’s walkout.

The statement said students at Brookline High School and Arlington High School also plan to walk out of class at 11 a.m. Friday, while Suffolk and Northeastern students, whose classes have ended for the semester, will hold rallies in solidarity.

Friday’s planned actions follow demonstrations last week at the State House and on Harvard Yard that drew thousands of protesters who decried the draft ruling, which was leaked to Politico but hasn’t been made official yet.

The ruling won’t be final until it’s published, likely in the next couple of months, Politico reported last week.

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“While access to abortion is protected in Massachusetts, many states, including some of our neighbors, do not have similar safeties,” Tufts Medicine said in its Thursday statement. “This change will have drastic effects on equitable care and family health across the country.”


Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.