Photos: Columbus Joins Abortion Ban Protests Nationwide
On May 21, protesters nationwide joined together for the #StopTheBans rally, to stop state abortion bans passing across the country. In Columbus, protesters gathered outside of Gov. Mike DeWine’s office at 77 S. High St., before moving the demonstration to the front steps of the Ohio Statehouse.
In April, Gov. DeWine signed Senate Bill 23, a ban on abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected at six weeks, with no exception to incest or rape. The bill takes effect on July 11, 2019.
Rhiannon Childs, executive director for Women’s March Ohio Chapter and regional field manager for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, led the abortion ban protest, which looked to have nearly 200 people in attendance. Five to 10 counter-protestors were also in attendance, amongst the crowd and in contention with the pro-abortion rights group.
Childs and other speakers discussed the ban’s effect on women of all walks of life, especially working-class women and women of color. Speakers also discussed religious freedom, women’s autonomy, and their own stories and the stories of family members who have made the decision to have an abortion.
Childs said the protest was a show of unification with groups around the country.
“We know that it will be dangerous to people in Ohio, that people will die behind this. We will not, will not stop fighting,” she said. “[We want] to let them know that our rights and our voices and our stories matter, and our lives matter.”
Much of the rhetoric during the protest was directed at Gov. DeWine.
Childs also had a message for the Governor. “If he is not listening to the people, then he is not serving our state effectively,” she said.
Stephanie Craddock Sherwood, Executive Director of Women Have Options – Ohio (WHO/O), an abortion fund, also spoke intermittently at the rally.
At the rally, Sherwood invited protestors to get involved with WHO/O and other organizations in the fight for abortion and reproductive rights. Because the future is uncertain, she said, organizations are going to need more practical support.
“There are so many new people who are ready to join the fight. And I’m so here for that,” she said. “It’s to get people involved who are new to the fight and get people plugged into organizations that are doing the work. And get people who are enthusiastic because we need all the energy we can get.”
For more information on Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, visit plannedparenthoodaction.org/planned-parenthood-advocates-ohio
For more information on Women Have Options, visit womenhaveoptions.org.