An estimated 400 people showed up at the Whatcom County courthouse to participate in the Rally for Roe protest on May 3.
The organization of the protest came after a draft opinion was leaked from the United States Supreme Court and released to the public via Politico, which affirms a majority of Supreme Court Justices' support to overturn the landmark case, Roe v. Wade.
Roe v. Wade, decided in 1972, held that the Constitution protects a woman’s choice to terminate a pregnancy. The leak was later confirmed by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. to be an official document of the court.
Several prominent public officials appeared and spoke at the rally, including U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., State Rep. Alicia Rule, D-42, State Rep. Alex Ramel, D-40 and Bellingham City Councilmembers Hollie Huthman and Kristina Martens.
“I am out here to show support for access to all medical services including abortion services,” Larsen said. “We need to show the people in this country that are not pro-choice, including on the Supreme Court, that we’re going to find a way to reject this decision. We need to codify Roe.”
Organizers felt the presence of the lawmakers to be beneficial in helping make the next steps to take action in support of abortion rights.
“You can be in a protest and it feels like no one is listening, but we have some lawmakers here today,” said Marissa McGrath, the lead organizer with the Riveters Collective. “My biggest hope is that they are going to walk away from here with a resolve to try to work to settle this issue, not just in Washington state, but the whole country.”
Demonstrators expressed strong emotions and personal experiences at the protest, which lasted around an hour.
“This means a lot because I had an abortion when I was younger and if I didn’t have access to that I don’t know what would have happened,” said Kelly Plyler, a participant in the protest. “I don’t know if I would be here today.”
The overturning of Roe v. Wade is unofficial, abortion still remains legal in the United States for the time being, and organizers and supporters plan to continue to show solidarity with abortion rights.
Jenelle Baumbach (she/her) is the city news editor for The Front this quarter. She is a senior studying political science and news/editorial journalism. Her past reporting broadly covers local politics, the city council and community interests. In her free time, she enjoys looking at maps and meandering around antique stores. You can reach her at email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.