In the second week of protests in Iowa City following the leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court — which is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and undermine decades of precedent for reproductive rights and right to privacy — hundreds of Iowans rallied on the University of Iowa Pentacrest on Saturday, as part of the Nationwide Day of Protest for abortion rights.
Francine Thompson, executive director at the Emma Goldman Clinic, said that while we are in the eleventh hour, it isn’t midnight yet. She encouraged the crowd to continue protesting and vote against anti-abortion candidates in November.
“We still have a lot of fight left in us. I can only imagine that the founders of the Emma Goldman Clinic, and all those who worked so hard, never anticipated that 50 years later, we would still be fighting this same battle,” Thompson said. “Should the leak be the reality, the impact of this decision will fall hardest on people who already face obstacles to healthcare.”
Many attendees wore green in reference to the Green Wave, an abortion rights movement in Latin America. Community members shared their personal stories regarding abortion. One healthcare provider described how she passed through tall, locked gates to enter their building, while anti-abortion protesters shouted at them every morning. They have bulletproof windows, and some of her coworkers wear bulletproof vests.
After an hour, the crowd Saturday marched down Iowa Avenue, Gilbert Street and the Ped Mall, chanting “Right-to-Life your name’s a lie, you don’t care if people die,” “They say no-choice, we say pro-choice,” and “My body, my choice!” Drivers honked in solidarity, and pedestrians cheered on the protesters.