A crowd of several hundred gathered in front of the Wyoming’s Capitol on Thursday to protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn the landmark abortion ruling “Roe vs. Wade.”
The crowd began to gather more than one-half hour before the start of the “Rally for Our Reproductive Rights,” with attendees holding signs to protest the ruling, chanting and cheering any cars that drove by and honked in support.
“We matter, we vote,” was one of the chants. Some of the signs included the longstanding “My body, my choice” phrase, while others called on the U.S. Supreme Court to keep its “hands” off of their genitals or accusing U.S. Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas of being sexual abusers.
Cheyenne resident Rikki Cruz brought her two daughters, Ember and Savvy, along with her husband to the rally on Thursday because she said the overturning of Roe would affect the young girls down the road.
“Ember, my nine-year-old, has already said she doesn’t want to have kids. She’s like, ‘They’re not interesting,'” Cruz told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday, as her daughter agreed with her mother in the background. “She wanted to be included and she wants to fight for her right when she comes of age.”
Ember Cruz told Cowboy State Daily she was mad about the decision, holding up a sign that said “I’m not in your little book club, stay out of my uterus,” with a hand-drawn picture of a Bible and fire surrounding it.
During the rally, speakers such as Wyoming Equality executive director Sara Burlingame and Wyoming Senate candidates Marcie Kindred and Ted Hanlon spoke. Time was also given to women to share their stories about why abortion rights were so important and need to be protected.
“I have daughters, I have daughters-in-law, I have granddaughters and I’m worried about them,” Hanlon said. “I have wonderful women friends and I’m worried about them. I have precious friends and family in the LGBTQ community and I’m worried about them.
“This is not the time for nuance and ambiguity. It’s a time to be crystal clear. A woman has an absolute right to make her own decisions about her own body,” Hanlon continued.
A majority of the Supreme Court last week ruled that access to abortions is not a constitutionally guaranteed right and that the issue should be decided by the states. In the wake of the decision, Wyoming’s “trigger ban” law will ban most abortions in the state in less than one month.
Cheyenne residents were not the only ones to turn out for the rally, nor were the participants only women.
Cowboy State Daily columnist Rod Miller could be seen in the crowd, along with Rep. Karlee Provenza, D-Laramie, and a number of colorful participants, including a woman dressed as a handmaid from the television show “The Handmaid’s Tale” and a man who donned short shorts and spiked heels who held a sign that said “Walk in her shoes.”
Megan Cragun was among a group of women who drove from Rawlins to attend the rally. All four of the women told Cowboy State Daily that this was the first time any of them had gone to such a protest.
“If they have the right to make the choices, we deserve to have the same rights,” Cragun said. “Wyoming is the Equality State. I think that should stand as a point for the rest of the United States.”
Her friend, Kimberly Morse, who held a sign featuring a coat hanger (imagery often linked to unsafe and sometimes deadly abortions) told Cowboy State Daily she remembers the days when women used to use hangers and that the nation should not go back to that.
“It’s not right,” she said.
Another woman in the group said people should be “pissed” about the ruling and added if they are not, then they are not paying attention to the world around them.
Rock Springs resident Mya Boren told Cowboy State Daily that she also had never protested before Thursday, but felt she needed to attend because the abortion ruling is part of a larger issue.
“Unfortunately, people don’t see that right now, even the ones who are celebrating this ruling,” she said. “This impacts them, too. This is about our right to our body.”
She said that despite Wyoming being the Equality State, women are not equal in the state or nation and never have been.
“It’s beyond morality. It’s about rights. This is about freedom,” Boren said.