Pro-choice demonstrators promote reproductive rights at Old Capitol

Before protesters marched down Iowa City streets, they gathered by the Old Capitol Building to hear pro-choice speeches about abortion access and intersectionality.


Larry Phan

Demonstrators gather at the Old Capitol Building to protest Texas’s anti-abortion law.

Anthony Neri, News Reporter

A group of roughly 40 people assembled at the Old Capitol to demonstrate in favor of reproductive rights before they took to a march in the streets on Friday night. 

According the organizers’ Facebook page, the event, called Without Us March, was sparked by an anti-abortion law recently passed in Texas. 

John Green, a Johnson County supervisor, joined the protest on the Pentacrest.

Green said the protest was to ensure the importance of taking action to ensure “health care remains equitable and available.”

“Abortion is health care,” Green said. 

Given the anti-abortion law in Texas and the possibility that Florida may pass a similar law in coming days, Green said right now it is especially important to protect abortion rights.

“We need to make sure that it remains safe and available,” Green said. “It’s under threat right now. We need to mobilize, not take anything for granted, and fight to ensure that everyone has access to health care.”

Jane Sailor, a protester and former UI student, said it was important to protest against laws that limit reproductive health care. 

“I think a lot of the action that’s been done to really limit reproductive health care has been kind of slow and gradual,” Sailor said in an interview. “I think being especially visible in opposition to all that is super important at every stage along the way just to make sure that we’re not like allowing people to sneak in really destructive stuff.”

Sailor also said she hopes the protest gets the attention of people who have not been paying particular attention to the debate surrounding abortion. 

“I honestly am hoping folks will come up and ask why we’re out tonight, so we’re able to kind of spread some more direct knowledge and that can lead to more action,” she said.

Mica Doolan, one of the event’s organizers, introduced the event and condemned the new Texas abortion law SB8.

“With this law anyone who has had an abortion, provides an abortion, or helps someone get an abortion can be sued,” Doolan said. 

“We believe this is a disgusting attack on people with a uterus and people who are trying to provide medical care,” she said. “News has just passed that a copycat bill has been introduced in Florida. We believe that Iowa can be next.”

After acknowledging the historical experiences of indigenous communities and their connection to the land of Iowa, Doolan said of succeeding speakers yet to step up, “We hope that by having these people share their experiences and knowledge, we can create constructive conversations surrounding reproductive rights and end abortion stigmas.”

Doolan also pointed out a voter registration table that organizers set up at the event before sharing a personal story. 

“We hope that you will vote for candidates that will uphold reproductive healthcare rights, as it is such an important issue that affects a wide variety of people,” she said.