By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily
Pro-choice groups planned to rally around the state on Friday night to protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning the landmark abortion ruling “Roe vs. Wade.”
Organizers said at least three rallies would be held statewide, in Casper, Jackson and Cody.
“We’re trying to harness everybody’s energy immediately,” said Maggie Hunt, chairman of the Teton County Democratic Party.
Hunt said she has spread word to as many groups as possible regarding the peaceful protest the Teton County Democratic Party is hosting in Town Square, one of the most central and well-known spots in downtown Jackson. She said she is unsure how many will attend but is expecting a passionate group.
“We’ve already seen a huge outpouring of response,” she said.
The court on Friday overturned Roe vs. Wade, ruling abortion is not a constitutionally guaranteed right, and giving the states control over whether abortions will be allowed in their borders.
The court’s decision wasn’t a complete surprise to many pro-choice supporters due to the May leak of its draft decision. What did come as a surprise to some like Hunt was the court’s complete reversal of 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision. Five of the justices opined that abortion access is not a fundamental right guaranteed in the Constitution, but rather a legal issue best left to state governments.
The decision starts the clock on Wyoming’s “trigger ban,” which will outlaw abortions in the state, except for cases of rape or incest, no more than 35 days after Roe vs. Wade is overturned.
“The Supreme Court action they took today to withdraw rights has never been done before,” said Jane Ifland, an advisory committee member for the Wellspring Health Access clinic, who is helping organize the Casper rally.
That rally was to take place outside True Care Women’s Resource Center on Poplar Street.
Wellspring is a full-service reproductive health care clinic under construction in Casper which plans to offer abortions as part of its services. It was damaged in an arson-caused fire last month.
Ilfand said multiple Supreme Court justices lied to Congress about their stance on abortion during their confirmation hearings.
“This (decision) affects the majority of people in America,” she said. “There are more people with a uterus than without.”
Hunt said the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood and other organizations are exploring their legal options for overturning Wyoming’s trigger ban.
“This violates bodily, autonomy and an individual’s right to privacy,” she said.
Hunt also hopes the court’s decision will bring a surge of motivation to pro-choice voters that could make an impact on the elections this fall.
Although the court decision on the matter had been expected for some time, it was unknown to the public that it would be released Friday morning.
The Cody rally was to take place in downtown City Park.
All of the rallies were to start at 5 p.m.