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‘Our bodies, our choice’: Chants ring out as hundreds attend 'Bans Off Our Bodies' rally

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Posted at 8:56 PM, May 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-14 22:15:33-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Almost two weeks ago, a draft opinion of the Supreme Court was leaked that it could overturn Roe v. Wade soon.

Saturday, thousands marched and rallied in cities and towns throughout the country, including in Grand Rapids, protesting that possible decision.

“Our bodies, our choice. Our bodies, our choice,” chanted the 300 protesters at Calder Plaza.

“I want the choice to designate what my healthcare is, whether I want to be a mother or not,” said Sarah Kranz of Belmont. “To have that taken away after 50 years is crushing and something I don’t want to see for my nieces in the future.”

In 1973, Roe v. Wade made abortion legal nationwide after a woman named Jane Roe sued her district attorney in Texas over the ban's constitutionality. The United States Supreme Court later ruled in her favor.

However, that may soon change.

“I was flabbergasted,” said Terra Stewart on when she heard the news about it possibly overturning. “We can’t get rid of Roe v. Wade. We can't get rid of women’s rights. It’s unbelievable to me. When I first seen the Supreme Court leakage, I was shocked. And, it can’t happen.”

The rally lasted two hours. Protesters listened to organizers, advocates, lawmakers, attorneys and a therapist speak about the significance of reproductive rights.

During a brief water break, dozens from the rally walked over to the other side of Calder Plaza where an anti-abortion group was protesting. Those from the Bans Off Our Bodies rally chanted, “Vote them out, vote them out,” among other sayings. Within a few minutes, the crowd grew to one hundred.

Then, once the rally resumed, the crowd dispersed.

“Well, three years ago, I went to a protest and it’s just like we’re back at the same place, still fighting for it,” said Anessa Schwitzer, who was there with her mom, Terra Stewart. “It makes me feel good to fight for what I believe in.”

Michigan is one of several states that has a trigger law. It means that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, then a 1931 law that criminalized abortion would immediately go into effect. Attorney General Dana Nessel said she will not enforce this law if this happens.

In April, both the ACLU and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer filed lawsuits to keep abortion legal in the state.

Many at the rally said they were grateful but more work needs to be done.

“We all got to do our part. We got to support the future of our rights,” said Brian Smith of Kalamazoo, who attended the rally with his young daughter, Fiona. “But, it comes to, you know, thinking about my daughter and her future really. That’s why I’m here.”

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