City Council Addresses Abortion Access and Goose Poop

Boston City Hall. Photo by Zoe Mitchell/BU News Service.
Written by Zoë Mitchell

By Zoe Mitchell
BU News Service

The Boston City Council had a sweeping agenda Wednesday, with topics ranging from abortion coverage to the living wage to goose poop.

“Who’s ever live streaming today, look at all the work going on at City Council, I mean, c’mon,” Councillor Ayanna Pressley said jokingly of the council’s proceedings.

Pressley was a sponsor or co-sponsor of many items on the agenda, most notably endorsing a resolution calling on U.S. Congress and the President to reinstate insurance coverage for abortion services, which passed 12-0.

The resolution was a part of a national week of action in response to the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, a federal law passed in 1976 that bans access to abortion for those on Medicaid insurance. Boston is the tenth city to pass the ordinance against the law this year.

“There are still women and trans-people who call Boston home, who live in our commonwealth, but who face barriers to abortion care because they are insured through other public insurance programs like the Peace Corps, Indian Health Services, and military insurance programs,” Pressley said.

Pressley also introduced an amendment to the Boston Living Wage Ordinance, which would ensure that all service and security workers wages are maintained to the standard wage in the industry.

The ordinance would not change the city standard for living wage in Boston but it would ensure that the city holds a higher standard wage for service and security workers. Many of these workers are members of unions and organizations that have negotiated a wage above the city’s living wage.

Members of the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ were in the chamber audience to support the ordinance.

Councillor Annissa Essaibi-George introduced a very different matter to the council, one concerning the scourge of Canada geese in city parks.

The council will hold a hearing to address the problems posed by Canada geese pooping and acting aggressive towards residents in city parks. Essaibi-George said that the goose poop has negative effects on city resident’s quality of life, the environment and the city’s finances.

“The geese affect us all,” Essaibi-George said.

Other items of note:

  • Councillor Andrea Campbell introduced a resolution supporting the federal Second Chance Reauthorization Act of 2015, which provides support to people who are being released from correctional facilities.
  • The council will hold a hearing to discuss providing all K-12 Boston Public School students with computer science training.
  • The council passed a resolution to establish Roxbury as a cultural district.

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