In Overland Park, more than 100 rally for abortion rights
Following Friday's U.S. Supreme Court decision to eliminate the federal right to abortion access, Johnson Countians gathered in Overland Park to protest for reproductive rights. In Kansas, an upcoming constitutional amendment vote could determine the future of abortion access in the state.
More than 100 people gathered in Overland Park Sunday afternoon to demand reproductive rights in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Friday that overturns the 50-year-old Roe v. Wade precedent that established a constitutional right to an abortion.
At the event, organized by the Johnson County Democratic Party and Kansas Democrats, demonstrators lined up on College Boulevard and Roe Avenue near a Planned Parenthood facility to rally for the right to abortion access.
The rally drew people of all ages, who cheered and chanted while holding up signs, many of them urging Kansans to vote “No” on a proposed constitutional amendment on the August 2 primary ballot that, if approved, would pave the way for the state legislature to pass new abortion restrictions next year.
The demonstration was one of several over the weekend in the Kansas City metro, including one on Friday evening that drew hundreds to Mill Creek Park near the Country Club Plaza.
The Supreme Court’s decisions has already triggered tighter abortion restrictions in other states, including Missouri, which has now barred nearly all abortions.
For Kansans, the federal ruling doesn’t change anything yet, but August’s upcoming constitutional amendment vote on statewide abortion access could determine the future of abortion access in the state.
Eden Haack of Olathe and Ellie Quintanar of Gardner both attended Sunday’s demonstration and said it was a chance to show solidarity and help make a change.
“I’m a political science and criminal justice student, and there have been two times that I had to turn off the news,” Haack said. “One was during the (U.S.) Capitol insurrection, and the other was Friday.”
Haack and Quintanar are members of reproductive rights group URGE (Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equality)’s chapter at Johnson County Community College, and they said the group has been working on educating Kansans about what’s at stake in terms of abortion access.
“I can’t sleep, I’m infuriated,” Quintanar said. “I’m just so disappointed that we’re going backwards, and it really is a matter of what’s next, because this is really just the beginning.”
Betsy Lawrence of Edgerton said the overturning of Roe v. Wade worries and saddens her for future generations of women, including her five-year-old daughter Amelia, who attended the rally with her.
Lawrence said she hopes Friday’s news causes Kansans to think hard about their votes in August’s election.
“I do hope that we can vote ‘no’ to give women those rights back in our state,” she said. “So that we don’t erase all the work that those of us- that females who have come before us- have helped pave the way for.”
This story was first published at The Shawnee Mission Post.