Thousands rally for abortion rights in Ann Arbor as Supreme Court decision looms

Speakers detail how marginalized groups will be the most impacted by Roe being overturned

By: - May 15, 2022 11:50 am

Abortion rights protest in Anna Arbor, May 14, 2022 | Angela Demas

“We support Roe!” chanted activists as the Bans Off Our Bodies rally kicked off Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor. 

About 2,000 people attended the protest organized by Planned Parenthood at the University of Michigan. It was part of a national day of action on Saturday, fueled by the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s leaked draft overturning Roe v. Wade. Rallies were held across the country, including Ann Arbor, Detroit and Grand Rapids. 

Michigan Planned Parenthood head Nicole Wells Stallworth at the abortion rights protest in Anna Arbor, May 14, 2022 | Angela Demas

“The truth is, this is everyone’s fight,” Nicole Wells Stallworth, executive director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and vice president of advocacy at Planned Parenthood of Michigan, said at the Ann Arbor event.

The lively rally featured rows of seating and signs such as, “Mind Your Own Uterus,”  “Her Body, Her Choice” and “Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights.” Although the demonstration was interrupted by a thunderstorm, many remained outside during the downpour.

Stallworth described how abortion bans affect people’s lives, particularly marginalized communities. 

“Overturning Roe would be largely felt by Black, Latino, Indigenous people, immigrants, people living with low incomes and in rural communities who have already long felt the impacts of lack of access to abortion,” she said, adding that this is “due to the social disparities of the social determinants of health and discrimination that already exists in our health care and criminal justice systems.”

Grey Stone, a member of Planned Parenthood Generation Action at Eastern Michigan University, talked about the lack of diversity in aspects of the reproductive rights movement and the need for inclusivity. 

“I’m also a man with a uterus,” Stone said. 

“I’m hoping to bring to light that the fact that this group affected by [Roe being overturned] is much wider and more diverse than most people imagine,” Stone added.

Stone noted that gender inclusive language “opens up discussions and safe spaces to more people who are in bodily autonomy jeopardy.” 

“We may not all be women, but we all have government officials trying to tell us what we can and cannot do with our bodies,” Stone said.

Speakers, including U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn), encouraged people to vote for officials who support reproductive rights. Many speakers also asked people to sign the Reproductive Freedom for All petition to enshrine reproductive health rights in Michigan’s Constitution. 

Democratic Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist talked about the 1931 state law that would make abortion illegal in Michigan if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has filed a lawsuit to overturn the law. 

“The last time I checked this was 2022, not 1931,” Gilchrist said. 

“In 2022, we expect every decisionmaker, every court to make choices that grant us protection and more rights, not take our rights away,” he added.

Several attendees said they remember what it was like before abortion was legal. Pat Shure, 87, of Ann Arbor told the Advance, “I come to all the rallies that I can.” 

Pat Shure attended the abortion rights protest in Anna Arbor, May 14, 2022 | Angela Demas

“I believe that we’re leaving something terrible to our children and our grandchildren. I thought that we had fixed this in 1973 and it’s terrible that we’re having to do it again. And I’m willing to march whenever and wherever,” said Shure.

Alaina Latulip, 23, of Marine City said getting an abortion “could’ve saved my life.”

“I found out two weeks after I got mine that I had precancerous cells on my cervix,” Latulip said.

“I would not be where I was today if I hadn’t gotten one,” Latulip added.

Latulip said that reproductive rights means to have a “choice” and “everyone deserves a choice.” 

Cloud Rosenfeld, 12, agreed.

“Reproductive rights means that you can choose what you do with your body,” Rosenfeld said, “and the laws shouldn’t be able to dictate that.”

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Angela Demas
Angela Demas

Angela Demas is a junior at Michigan State University with experience in journalism, research, photography and graphic design.

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