Hundreds of protesters advocate for abortion rights in Iowa City

Protesters gathered in Iowa City to voice their dissent on the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.


Gabby Drees

Protesters chant at a pro-abortion rights march through downtown Iowa City on Friday, June 24, 2022.

Meg Doster, News Editor

Hundreds of pro-choice protesters took to the streets of Iowa City to protest this morning’s Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v Wade.

Overturning Roe v. Wade means that access to abortion is not protected by the Constitution. States can now choose whether to allow abortion access.

The protest was organized by Mica Doolan, a long-time abortion access advocate.

“I wasn’t really surprised because we kind of already knew that it was coming,” Doolan said. “We’ve been planning [the protest] for a while now.”

Protesters gathered at the pentacrest prior to the start of the demonstration that began at 6 p.m. hundreds of protesters marched through the streets of Iowa City, stopping traffic at landmarks such as College Green Park, the Ped Mall, and Iowa City’s downtown. The entire march was a little under an hour. 

Paula Kelly, a 67-year-old protester, was a teenager when the Roe v. Wade decision was made in 1973. Today, she was protesting for the same cause she did nearly 50 years earlier.

Kelly said she fears for women in states where abortion is outlawed. In those states, Kelly said, people will seek out unsafe abortions, or not go to the hospital if they’re having pregnancy complications out of fear of prosecution.

“It’s just so sad because people think this is about pregnancy and about children and it’s about controlling women,” Kelly said.

Elinor Levin, the Democratic candidate to represent Iowa’s House district 89, said that overturning Roe infringes on a person’s right to bodily autonomy.

RELATED: Iowa politicians respond to the overturning of Roe v. Wade

“People cannot be required to give up their bodily autonomy to save someone else’s life against their will in any case,” Levin said. “Except somehow if they become pregnant at any point they can apparently now be forced to give up their bodily autonomy.”

Josie Schwartz, a 15-year-old high school student, said the ruling is unfair to people their age.

“I am not of legal age to consent to sex, but if I were assaulted or raped I would have to carry that baby to term,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz and people their age cannot vote for their representatives, but they said that they’re protesting to get people who can vote to “do the right thing”.

“I’m just shocked and angry that [the Supreme Court] didn’t listen to common sense,” Schwartz said.

The crowd chanted phrases such as “my body my choice”, and “vote out Kim Reynolds.”

“Iowans have said time and time again that they value the right to reproductive health,” Levin said.

Levin said that it wouldn’t surprise her if Iowa republicans introduced an amendment to the state’s Constitution to criminalize abortion, but that it wouldn’t pass because of the popularity of pro-choice sentiments.

“I want you to vote, I want you to be loud,” Kelly said. “I want you to go to every protest so people know that this isn’t a bunch of flaky women. Because that’s what people tried to do to us back in the 70s.”


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