Hundreds Gather in Wausau to Protest U.S. Supreme Court Abortion Ruling
WAUSAU — Despite rain on Sunday afternoon, hundreds of protesters marched through downtown Wausau with signs, chanting and expressing their anger over the overthrow of Roe v. Wade. Protesters filled about half of the green space in Block 400.
On June 24, the United States Supreme Court ruled with Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health that abortion is not a constitutional right. Without the protection of Roe v. Wade, Wisconsin reverted to using its 1849 ban.
The event was organized by several local activists including Jaxon Seeger, Bre Cerny-Grondin and Kayley McColley.
The event began around 3 p.m. with speakers including Mayor Katie Rosenberg and 85th State Assembly District candidate Kristin Conway. About an hour later, the march began with participants walking in a loop around downtown Wausau, ending at block 400. There were more speakers and the crowd began to thin around 5 p.m.
Attendees held signs reading ‘I was the one reacting to ovaries’ and ‘Keep abortion legal’ spread out as they got wet in the rain. As they marched, protesters chanted, “Keep your prayer beads out of my ovaries.”
Aradia Anderkin said she decided to dress up as death for the march. She wore an all-black cape that covered her entire body, including her face, and held a sign that read, “Forced pregnancy is a death sentence.
“I decided to dress up as death to show the seriousness of the situation and how bad it can really get,” Anderkin said.
During her speech, Rosenberg said she supports abortion. She remained silent on the issue until last spring, when the Supreme Court’s opinion was leaked.
“Personally, I’m super uncomfortable talking about anything abortion-related,” Rosenberg said. “I hate that we’re at odds with each other about what should be private medical discussions with a doctor.”
Rosenberg reminded people of the importance of voting and encouraged them to register. She also mentioned that a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat will be up for a vote next spring.
Advocates from Healthfirst and the recently created organization Central Wisconsin Operation Access also spoke about access to abortion in central Wisconsin. Christine Salm and several other local women created Central Wisconsin Operation Access in May to provide transportation and funds to people in Wisconsin who need abortions.
“I hope we’re obsolete; we want to be obsolete,” Salm said. “But for now, we have to help people who need help.”
The nonprofit is still in its infancy, but organizers hope that with the donations and volunteer registrations they received at the protest, they can start helping people. They want to be able to transport people to Minnesota and Illinois for abortions, if needed.
On the other side of the green space, a small prayer circle had formed. The group prayed peacefully for most of the protest, keeping their distance from protesters. Janet Nichols said they weren’t protesting but praying.
“We came to pray for the mothers, pray for the woman because we believe there are children in the womb separating from their bodies,” Nichols said.
Madeline Dunbar said four generations of her family attended the protest. Her grandmother, mother and 5-year-old daughter were there, protesting the removal of their reproductive rights.
“If they start attacking this, where are they going to stop?” said Dunbar. “If we don’t have our basic bodily autonomy, is this really the land of the free?
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