Hundreds of people showed up in Petaluma’s Penry Park Sunday to take part in a march supporting reproductive rights.
At least 500 people, many of whom appeared to be members of families who brought along their children, joined in as the march began at about 10:30 a.m.
Carrying signs that read, “Mind Your Own Uterus,” and “One Pissed Grandma, Watch Out,” along with “Men Not Supporting Reproductive Rights is Small *ick energy,” marchers chanted slogans as they made their way to Petaluma City Hall, in anticipation of a planned rally.
The marchwas organized in response to Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court ruling that essentially legalized abortion in the United States.
Friday’s decision does away with any constitutional protections for abortion that were established under the 49-year-old ruling, as well as any additional protections established as a result of a 1992 ruling that reaffirmed abortion as a right.
A number of state’s have already outlawed abortions in their jurisdictions, while others, such as California, are working to keep abortions legal within their borders.
Among those in Sunday’s crowds, were members of North Bay Organizing Project, Mask Sonoma and Indivisible Marin.
Speeches were made by march organizers Eirinie Carson and Sarah Seitchik, as well as Petaluma’s Mayor Teresa Barrett, City Council member D’Lynda Fischer, and Sara Aminzadeh, a state Assembly District 12 candidate for the California Coastal Commission.
“It’s ridiculous that a woman of my age is dealing with this issue again. This is something we fought and won and thought was settled,” Barrett, who is in her early 70s, said Sunday. “Everyone needs this right — just how everyone needs the right to breathing clean air and access to clean water. It’s a basic right.”
One marcher who brought along her three daughters worried that the Supreme Court’s decision would pave the way for challenges to other established precedents.
“I worry this is the beginning of our rights being taken away,” Santa Rosa resident Mary Wade, 55, said. “What’s next? Access to contraception? Gay marriage?
“I don’t want to go back to the 50s,” she added.
Tamariah Doyle, 24, who said she had an abortion in 2019 because her living, financial and relationship situations weren’t stable enough to raise a child.
“It’s heartbreaking. I scrolled through so many news outlets when I found out on Friday. I couldn’t believe it,” Doyle said. “I’m afraid of what will happen next.”
Another attendee who said she had an abortion a few months ago, was grateful to live in a state that supports reproductive rights. She said that it is gut-wrenching knowing how difficult it could be for people in states where abortions will now be illegal.
“It’s a very personal medical experience,” Emily Wood, 42, said. “What you decide to do with your body shouldn’t be dictated by someone else. This shouldn’t be illegal.”
Carson, a mom of two daughters, said the rage she felt because of the Supreme Court’s action led her and Seitchik to organize Sunday’s march.
“We’re fighting for the rights of everyone with a uterus in this country, that includes our LGBTQ+ community,” Carson said. “Marching isn’t enough. It’s crucial we provide funding to states that need it and continue to apply pressure to our local, state and federal lawmakers.”
You can reach Staff Writer Mya Constantino at [email protected]. @searchingformya on Twitter.