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Rally for Roe

by Michelle Trajtman and Ainslee Archibald

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On Sunday, August 26, passionate protesters gathered at Sunset Park early in the morning to show their disapproval of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, announced by President Trump earlier this year. Supporters from many organizations were there to participate in the rally and share their stories.

This rally was part of a national day of action called “Unite for Justice” organized by MoveOn, The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, and many other organizations. People wanted to protest because they believe the nomination of Kavanaugh poses a threat to Roe versus Wade, a pivotal Supreme Court case in the fight for reproductive rights.  The day of action included 150 events in all 50 states, with the purpose of sending a message to senators to vote no on Kavanaugh and to block his nomination if possible.

In Sunset Park Sunday morning, speakers shared their stories with the crowd. State Senator Yvanna Cancela (SD-10) inspired the crowd with a strong speech about the dangers Kavanaugh poses to reproductive freedoms. She also campaigned for women’s rights in general.

“We have an opportunity to elect the first majority female legislature in the country… I want Nevada to lead the country in what we do on women’s rights,” she said to the crowd.

Later in the day, abortion rights activist Maureen O’Brien received cheers from the crowd as she stepped on stage. Her speech was part personal narrative and part call to action, and it spoke to the main thrust of the protest. In her speech, she warned about the risks of a conservative Supreme Court and the necessity of her fight.

“This fight doesn’t end. But it’s a damn good fight. I think, that even if Roe versus Wade stands, both the federal and state governments will continue to chip away at the very rights that you continue to have, until the government controls your body and your personal lifestyle choices whatever they may be… We must continue this fight,” she urged.

For many in the crowd, this nomination didn’t only threaten their right to an abortion, but also affordable birth control. That’s what Rachel Siota spoke about in her emotional speech, where she detailed her fight with endometriosis and why she believes access to affordable birth control is necessary.

“Roe matters to me because it’s not just about Roe. It’s about what Roe stands for. It’s about what we fought and what we lost on the way up to getting Roe. It’s about the women who died because they couldn’t access safe abortion and it’s important that we know that the fights that were fought are not just done. We never stop fighting for rights,” she said in an interview with Panther Print.

Misinformation when it comes to Planned Parenthood was discussed often during the rally. Siota brought up her story about her struggle with endometriosis and how difficult it was for her to find help. She also described why that led her to be involved in the rally.

“I’m here because access to affordable birth control is very important to me. I suffer from endometriosis and affordable birth control for me in the form of an IUD was what gave me my life back. There’s people who don’t have insurance who might have to pay up to 1,300 dollars for an IUD and low income women cannot afford that. People who don’t have the financial support to be healthy can’t risk losing what little coverage they have.”

Siota also had a message she wanted to send out to young people.

“I think I’d tell them ‘don’t let people tell you that you’re too young to be involved. Even if you’re a teenager, you still need healthcare. You still need birth control. You still deserve basic human rights and you still deserve the right to be happy and healthy. You’re going to grow to be a beautiful, wonderful adult who’s gonna do amazing things. Nobody should take that away from you now because you can’t drive a car.’”

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