The 4th of July is a celebration of our freedom from tyranny and taxation by the British. Our fight for independence reflects our commitment to free choice and self-determination. The first shots in the fight for independence took place in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts on April 19,1775.

Those battles, and the others that followed, lead the colonists to declare their freedom on July 4, 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress. This foundational document states, in part, that: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. . .”

On the 4th of July, we celebrated the audacity and courage of those who demanded freedom and self-determination.

Today, we witness a different battle over choice and self-determination. The US Supreme Court recently overturned Roe v. Wade, after protecting women’s “right of choice” for more than 50 years. Now, this important and, until now, universally protected right is left to state legislatures for preservation. States are proposing a wide array of potential laws. Some states are considering travel bans that would preclude women from traveling to states where abortions are lawful or the criminalization of women who secure abortions in states where they are lawful. Some states plan to fully protect the “right of choice” while other states are fully denying the right to an abortion. It seems that states are free to ban abortions for any reason or for no reason.

As we celebrate the 4th of July, let’s be cognizant of the fact that women lost a choice that impacts their life, liberty, and happiness. As individuals and as a society, we must ask ourselves what we think about this decision by the highest court in the land. And, as we contemplate said question, we must also consider what other right or privilege is at risk – life, liberty and/or happiness. First, “they came for the . . . and then they came for me.”

Any member of our YMCA of Greater Boston team who is emotionally grieved by the Supreme Court’s decision is encouraged to seek the support of our Employee Assistance Program.

We remain for all, all the time. We may not always agree, but we will always seek understanding.

James Morton
President and CEO
YMCA of Greater Boston