Anti-abortion, abortion-rights protesters gather on Roe v. Wade anniversary at Emma Goldman Clinic

Anti-abortion and abortion-rights protesters met on opposite sides of Dubuque Street outside the Emma Goldman Clinic on Saturday.


Grace Smith

Anti-abortion marchers stand on the sidewalk facing abortion-rights attendees during a protest and counter protest outside the Emma Goldman Clinic for reproductive health care in Iowa City on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022.

Meg Doster, News Reporter

Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling. As several states push to limit abortion access, Iowa City anti-abortion and abortion-rights protesters gathered outside of the Emma Goldman Clinic.

The Emma Goldman Clinic, a women’s health clinic that provides abortions, is a frequent spot for both abortion-rights protesters and anti-abortion protesters to gather. On Friday in Washington D.C., anti-abortion protestors from the organization Right to Life also rallied at the nation’s capital.

Anti-abortion protesters were organized primarily by Johnson County Right to Life and various Iowa City churches who share the same anti-abortion stance.

Sheryl Schwager, executive director for Johnson County Right to Life, said Jan. 22 is the day of prayer for the protection of the “unborn.” Schwager and the Johnson County Right to Life organization frequently pray and protest against abortion on Thursdays outside of the Emma Goldman Clinic.

“We just pray that they would realize the sanctity of life, that that’s their son or daughter, and that we want to be able to reach out to them with resources and help,” she said.

Allendra Escorcia, an abortion-rights protester who came with her friends, said she wanted to protest in support of the clinic and women. Escorcia has been to a few protests outside the clinic and said the ones where both anti-abortion protesters and abortion-rights protesters meetup can get “territorial.”

“We all kind of try to spread out so that we can kind of protect Emma Goldman and just push the pro-lifers out,” Escorcia said.

RELATED: Iowa City Women’s March protests Texas abortion laws

Anti-abortion protesters arrived in a group at 10:17 a.m., and were met by a few dozen abortion-rights protesters who had begun gathering at 9:50 a.m. A group of about 70 anti-abortion protesters came from the St. Wenceslaus Church, where they had gathered at 7 a.m. for church services.

“I try to teach my kids that all life is valuable, we’re all equal,” said Kimberly Cronk, an anti-abortion protester who was protesting with her family. “We all matter. God has a purpose for every one of us before he even creates us. And so it’s so important to just try to help people understand that.”

Abortion-rights protesters were on the street outside of the Emma Goldman Clinic, while the anti-abortion group protested from the other side of the four-lane street.

“I’m here because I want to support our right to choose,” said Mica Doolan, an abortion-rights protester.

Doolan said that while they’ve been to abortion-rights protests in the past, this protest is the first time they’ve seen anti-abortion protesters at the same time as abortion-rights protesters.


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