Reporting Credit to Finn Kurtz and Milo Openshaw
Alongside parallel demonstrations throughout the United States, over 500 people gathered in Bellingham’s civic center on Friday, June 24, to display their unwavering support for abortion rights.
About an hour into the protest, masses marched from Bellingham City Hall toward downtown yelling chants such as “hands off our bodies” and “abortion is healthcare we want it now.”
The demonstration came after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which concerned the constitutionality of a Mississippi law banning all abortions after 15 weeks of gestational age.
Voting 5-4, the court’s decision removed all constitutional protections for abortion. Deciding power on abortion’s legality now returns to state and federal legislatures.
“As we look ahead, we have to be prepared to fight but we cannot be so immersed in fighting that we become afraid to win,” Jenn Mason, owner of WinkWink Boutique, said in a speech.
Various local public figures and lawmakers appeared at the event to share their thoughts on the decision.
The event, coordinated by Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood and Indivisible Bellingham, aimed to show the community that people will continue to support access to safe abortions and continued access to care.
“Planned Parenthoods all across the country provide abortion care and have for decades,” Linda McCarthy, CEO of Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood, said. “We’re part of a network with independent abortion providers that provides care to about 700,000 people a year that are at risk of being pregnant or were pregnant.”
The constitutional right to abortion had previously been affirmed for over 49 years through cases Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood. The legal basis for these cases was based on the 14th Amendment’s due process clause, which does not allow states to deprive any person of life, liberty or property without the due process of the law.
With this decision, justices may soon call into question the constitutionality of other cases that are based on the 14th Amendment’s due process clause.
Lawrence v. Texas, which prohibits bans on same-sex conduct, Griswold v. Connecticut, which protects the right of married couples to access contraceptives, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which granted the protection for same-sex couples to marry, are a few landmark decisions based on the clause.
“This is not an anti-abortion movement, this is an anti-freedom movement,” Mason said.
This decision came as no surprise to the public after the initial draft of the court was leaked on May 3.
“It affects many people I know in ways that aren’t my business to know about,” Michael Allen, a protest participant, said. “This is a threat to much more than a person’s right to choose their healthcare.”
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.