Abortion rights supporters plan to gather in Springfield on Saturday for a rally. This will be the second such rally in as many weeks for Springfield; last weekend about 500 people participated in a Defend Roe! Emergency rally downtown. They weighed in on the possibility that the Supreme Court could soon overturn a 49-year-old precedent protecting patients’ right to terminate their pregnancies.
Friday’s Defend Roe rally was organized by local groups including the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Democratic Socialists of America, #MeToo Springfield and Planned Parenthood.
It came four days after a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion showed conservative justices could be about to overturn Roe v. wade. This 1972 ruling legalized abortion nationwide obased on a constitutional right to privacy.
But the opinion leaked last week is not definitive. The final decision will not be known until the court issues a full majority opinion, likely within the next few months.
Lucy Mayfield was at the rally. She is with the Party for Socialism and Liberation. She said the Supreme Court’s leak plan did not surprise her or her party because former President Donald Trump had appointed three conservative justices to the nine-member court.
Mayfield told KSMU: “Even more than trying to prevent Roe v Wade from being overturned, we want to call on Congress to enshrine it in law so that it cannot be overturned in the future. ” (A bill to codify abortion rights into federal law failed in the US Senate on Thursday, as expected.)
“We are here because abortion is a human right,” said Harvey Day of the Southwest Missouri Solidarity Network.
And another speaker, Seth Goodwin, called Roe v. Wade of “victory of the masses in struggle”. He said it was created by grassroots pressure, and he linked that to other rights struggles.
“That’s true of abortion rights, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and any form of social safety net, workplace safety regulation,” he said.
Those at the Springfield rally pointed to the nationwide protests, saying it shows “the majority of America” supports abortion rights.
“Millions of people take to the streets, it would make people understand that without justice, there can be no peace!” Mayfield told the crowd.
Polls show a minority of Americans favor banning abortion outright — but many Americans would like to see it regulated. A May 3 Morning Consult poll showed that 50% of American voters believe that Roe v. Wade shouldn’t be canceled. Only 28% think the decision should be reversed.
Long-term Gallup polls dating back to 1975 show that Americans have remained fairly consistent over the years: about a third believe that abortion should be legal in all circumstances. Only about a fifth of Americans support banning abortion in all circumstances, according to Gallup. And about half of Americans think the procedure should only be legal in certain circumstances.
People said they came to the rally downtown for various reasons.
Veronica Wilderness, a student from Springfield, led a spontaneous chant (“No womb, no opinion!”).
She said: “I’m here because women and all these other communities deserve to have their rights and not have them taken away because a Supreme Court system finds an abortion against their religion. when it’s supposed to separate church from state, so that’s what I have to fight for.
Another person who said he was there to support women was Trevor Fischer. He described feeling “outraged” when he learned the Supreme Court could terminate Roe.
“The women in my life… I refuse to live in a world, especially in 2022, where I have more rights than anyone else. For whatever reason.
Fischer wasn’t the only person at the rally to use that word: “outraged.” This is Debbie Thompson.
“I think of the women who came before us,” she said. “I am completely outraged that my Glock has more rights than a part of my body to myself. I am here just to do my part to try to stop what could be very difficult and dark days ahead.
After the Defend Roe rally, at least one more local abortion rights event is planned for the near future. In April, Planned Parenthood Advocates began holding a “Bans Off Our Bodies” rally at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, the city of Springfield said.
Democrat Crystal Quade, the leader of the Missouri House Minority, told KSMU she will speak at the event.