Abortion-rights advocates urge Coloradans at rally to stay involved in the fight after Roe v. Wade reversal

A rally that organizers said was meant to provide people with a place to support, grieve and even rage together after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe vs. Wade attracted several thousand attendees Monday evening at the state Capitol.

The Colorado Reproductive Health Rights and Justice Coalition hosted the event with speeches from reproductive rights advocates, attorneys, state lawmakers, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette and Gov. Jared Polis. They discussed what abortion rights will now look like across the country, what this means for Coloradans in a state where abortion is legal, how to support abortion funds for people coming to Colorado from other states, and what needs to happen politically.

State lawmakers passed a law this year that codified the right to abortions in Colorado, which speakers said was evidence of what happens when groups rally together and elect representatives who support abortion rights.

“Progress can never be taken for granted,” Polis said, calling the reversal of abortion rights in 2022 shocking. “Together we will reverse this trend and restore freedom.”

Abortion-rights groups are also organizing to ask voters to pass a constitutional amendment in 2024 that would ensure abortion access, so future legislatures can’t just overturn the law passed this year.

DeGette, like other speakers, urged people to take action at the rally: “Don’t agonize, organize.”

“We cannot have a two-tier system for health care,” the congresswoman said. “We’ve got to fight for justice because it’s the American way.”

She said attendees need to keep voting for abortion-rights candidates for the U.S. House, including Colorado’s 7th and 8th congressional districts, which are considered the most politically competitive House districts in the state, and even the nation.

State Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Denver Democrat, said abortion-rights advocates knew this day would come, especially after Texas passed a six-week abortion ban. She championed passage of Colorado’s abortion law — “The Reproductive Health Equity Act” — this past spring.

“Most folks don’t even know they’re pregnant at six weeks,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales stressed that abortion is legal in Colorado regardless of last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision, and if anyone has an appointment at a clinic, they should keep it.

“Colorado is a pro-choice state,” she yelled to cheers from attendees.

Colorado providers have already seen a large increase in patients from out of state seeking services in the “safe haven” for abortions, and they expect those numbers to continue to grow after bans are implemented in surrounding states.

Kiki Council, a reproductive rights attorney, urged people to practice civil disobedience when it comes to limiting abortion.

“We have a moral and ethical duty to disobey unjust laws and this is an unjust law,” she said of abortion bans. “I will aid and abet abortion until the day I die.”

Cars continuously drove past the rally, with many motorists honking their horns in support. About halfway through the event, hundreds of people broke away from the speakers and began marching in the street, chanting slogans like “my body, my choice.”

One man walked past the crowd yelling “abortion is wrong.”

Kyra Davis, a Tennessee resident interning in Denver this summer, said she’s protesting the highest court’s decision because now Tennessee will be able to enact a six-week abortion ban, and the ruling will lead to hundreds of people’s deaths across the country. Many attendees at the rally on Monday reiterated that banning abortion doesn’t mean they’ll stop — it just puts a stop to safe abortions.

Davis, who is African-American, said the issue will affect people of color, LGBTQ communities and those from low-income households because they can’t afford to just travel to other states to get abortions.

“People should realize if this doesn’t affect them directly, it’s going to affect people they know and love and even possibly them directly because (the Supreme Court) is talking about overturning other rights as well,” Davis said.

Cobalt, a reproductive rights organization, has an abortion fund, which helps people from other states come to Colorado to get abortions. After the ruling on Friday, fund director Amanda Carlson said the number of clients tripled. Development Director Sarah Korn said in the last three days, the fund raised $115,000. The fund has exceeded its budget from last year by $80,000 halfway into this year.

Although protesters have descended on the homes of U.S. Supreme Court justices in recent weeks to express their displeasure with the anticipated overturning of Roe vs. Wade, there was no sign of protesters at U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s home near Boulder on Monday.

On Tuesday, Colorado Christian University is hosting a rally to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.

Source: Read Full Article