Organized by Indivisible Mohawk Valley and cosponsored by Planned Parenthood, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Utica and Temple Emanu-El.
UTICA, NY., May 14, 2022. On Saturday, more than 250 people joined thousands across the country to march in support of abortion rights and a woman’s right to choose and maintain autonomy over her own body. The protests are in response to a leaked draft decision by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Alito, which would overturn Roe v. Wade — a devastating decision would open the floodgates on abortion bans in states across the country.
Chanting “Abortion rights now!” amid signs and clothing decorated with pins and messages in support of a woman’s right to choose, the diverse crowd hailed not only from the Utica / Rome area but also from Syracuse, Ithaca, Herkimer, New Jersey and other places further afield. The marchers spanned every demographic, from children in strollers to seniors with canes. Most significantly, many of the younger marchers and organizers had never lived when access to abortion wasn’t available.
Monica Lewis, local artist and activist states: “I was not around in the early 70s, when abortions were not accessible to women so I was not a witness to all of the hardship that came before Roe V. Wade. However, I am here now and I will not be a bystander and watch us return to those times. We will continue our support and efforts to protect women now and most importantly in the future.”
There were many others who remember what life was like prior to 1973 when Roe v. Wade became the law of the land. Judy Jerome, retired librarian, is one. Judy states: “I remember those days when women were forced to maintain pregnancies against their will. And I even had a friend whose life was threatened by an unsafe backroom abortion. Her life was saved by the emergency physicians at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse.”
Local pediatrician, Emmie Pizarro Davis questions the motives of those who oppose Roe. She states, “I find it bewildering that those who are always crying “freedom” are trying to restrict a woman’s freedom of choice and reproductive autonomy, and those who espouse religious freedom are trying to impose their religious beliefs on others.”
Helen Tucker Rose, a former Herkimer County legislator states: “My beliefs are just that….my beliefs. I have no right to inflict them on you! There can be no negotiating bans or restrictions on my reproductive choices. To do so is an assault on basic Human Rights.”
All participants in Saturday’s march agreed that we will not stand by quietly as anti-choice extremists attempt to control our bodies. Furthermore, we assert the importance of considering communities that will be even more adversely impacted by lack of abortion access because of class, race, gender, ability and sexual orientation. It is a fact that 80% of Americans want abortion to be legal and nearly 1 in 4 women will have an abortion in their lifetime.
Indivisible Mohawk Valley is a group of concerned citizens who self-organize around events and projects that strengthen our bonds and community with one another while standing up peacefully and non-violently to the destructive, corrupt, and undemocratic forces in American politics.
For further information contact: Jill Farnham-Us, 519-542-6299, Jfarnham002@twcny.rr.com or Crystal Faria, 315-225-8922, firstname.lastname@example.org.