Photos by Ty O’Neil
Hundreds of people today gathered on Reno’s downtown City Plaza to protest the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Politico early this week reported on a leaked draft U.S. Supreme Court ruling that would overturn abortion rights on a federal level.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” federal Justice Samuel Alito wrote.
The people gathered today expressed outrage.
Speakers shared concerns ranging from class disparities, patriarchal decision making, and abortion ashealthcare to how people of color are disproprtionately affected by abortion restrictions.
“We are under the illusion that we are in a democracy. This is not a democracy,” said one of the organizers with the Family Soup Mutual Aid group. “In a two-party state, we are given the illusion of choice, which we don’t have. This is an attack on poor people. It is class warfare. It is an attack on the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) community.”
Demonstrators shared stories of their own abortions, citing health reasons, lack of income and being raped.
Holly Welborn with the ACLU of Nevada explained that a change in Roe v. Wade would not immediately impact Nevada.
“Nevada voters overwhelmingly voted to affirm our abortion statutes, so right now, even if Roe v. Wade is overturned, you still have a right to receive an abortion in the state,” she said. “The next critical step for us is going to be to expand access. We have limited access to abortion in the state even though we have that protected right.”
After about an hour of speakers, demonstrators took to the streets. They marched – chanting, “my body, my choice!” – from City Plaza south on Center Street, then west at the Pioneer Theater crossing Virginia Street. From there they headed north on Sierra Street, back to City Plaza on the Truckee River path.
Many clapped, honked and shouted in support.
Others were attending the annual Reno River Festival and appeared perplexed by the hundreds of marchers.
After ending up back at City Plaza, demonstrators eventually dispersed. Some stayed to draw with chalk slogans and art on the plaza.
Today’s rally was the second this week. About hundred people gathered Tuesday at the federal courthouse on Virginia Street.
Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford held a virtual press conference that same day.
“Here in Nevada overturning Roe would not be felt immediately,” he said.
After Texas passed its recent abortion law restricting the procedure to the first six weeks of pregnancy, Ford said he began to hear of women traveling to Nevada to access safe and legal abortion services.
“What we will not do is punish people who come to Nevada to seek medical care,” he said.
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Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.