MILFORD, PA — A large crowd gathered in front of Milford’s courthouse Saturday evening, May 14, one of thousands of women’s marches titled “Bans Off Our Bodies,” taking …
MILFORD, PA — A large crowd gathered in front of Milford’s courthouse Saturday evening, May 14, one of thousands of women’s marches titled “Bans Off Our Bodies,” taking place the same day throughout the nation.
Following the leaked draft of the possible overturn of Roe v. Wade, the trailblazing case legalizing abortion, protesters in support of abortion have made their voices heard through programs and demonstrations. Pike County’s Milford was another example of a place where advocates congregated together.
People of all ages and identities came with posters and support for women’s rights and advocacy. Young children held signs with phrases such as “The future is female.” Older generations made remarks and carried signs that demonstrated the frustration of having to protest this issue twice within their lifetimes.
The crowd started various chants, such as “We must persist,” “Ain’t gonna happen,” and “My body is my battleground.” As well as support from those passing by on Broad Street, honking and supportive chants were heard throughout the entire demonstration and even Milford’s mayor, Sean Strub, commented on the supportive nature of the town.
Speakers told their stories of involvement in the battle over women’s rights, how to combat the potential infringement of rights, and offered a mantra for post-Roe America. Speakers included Jackie Baker, candidate for PA Senate District 20; Tarah Probst, candidate for the PA General Assembly District 189 seat; and Meg Rosenfeld, candidate for the PA 139 seat.
All speakers had similar sentiments about the constitutional right to bodily autonomy and how removing it was treading on the ideals of democracy.
“This is the issue for everyone, whether you are a man, woman or trans, or black, white, Latino, straight or gay—the second you lose the right to our bodily autonomy, you lose your freedom,” said speaker Tracey Vitchers.
There was a conversation about what a post-Roe America could look like.
“Everyone is telegraphing exactly what is next. Birth control and the right for women to access birth control are next. The right to same-sex unions is next,” Rosenfield’s campaign manager John Hellman said. “They’re coming for us, and they’re coming for us hard.”
A leaked statement in the draft, which was written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, has spurred concern. He wrote, “The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.”
The idea on which this statement was based has led some to worry. Within the last 50 years, many court decisions had no reference in the Constitution. Progress such as civil rights, same-sex marriage, interracial marriage, and women’s rights, some feel, could all be undone.
The speakers advised protesters on how they can create change within their state government through voting. Other speakers, such as Strub, relayed the message that access and support of abortion rights will not change in Pike County.
A key takeaway from the protest was to vote. Most speakers discussed the importance of this year’s state elections and how those are key to keeping healthcare access.
“We’ve heard a lot about critical race theory,” said Strub. “The most critical race is this election this year.”
Marian Keegan, a candidate for District 139, reminded the crowd of younger protesters that “though we may be turning the torch to the younger generation, we’re still here with you.”
The advice shared for those starting to protest is to vote and make their voices heard. Speaker Cheryl Glenn reminded protesters to call local representatives and not get discouraged. “Continue to keep on keeping on because someone somewhere is going to listen,” she said.
More information about the fight for women’s rights is available at https://www.mobilize.us/womensmarch/.
Click here for more pictures from Milford's women's march.
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