Protesters gather in Des Moines in response to Supreme Court decision

Protesters gathered at Central Academy in Des Moines on Friday to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.


Jerod Ringwald

Natalie Sherman yells a chant during an abortion-rights protest in Des Moines following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade on Friday, June 24, 2022. Protesters marched from Central Academy’s campus to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ mansion on Terrace Hill.

Sam Knupp, Managing Editor

A diverse crowd of couples, friends, and families gathered at Central Academy in Des Moines to protest the overturning of Roe v. Wade on Friday.

Chants of “My body, my choice” and “F***Kim Reynolds” filled the air at Central Academy. When 6:30 rolled around, it was time to go to the governor’s house.

The crowd of about 2,000 protesters marched down Grand Avenue, using the entire width of the road, continuing their chants and cheers before setting up shop in front of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ house.

The crowd then placed their signs on top of the fence of Gov. Reynolds’ home. Signs reading, “Forced birth is not pro-life,” “America … where guns have more rights than women do,” and “Supremely, f*** off” graced the top of the governor’s fence as protesters continued to chant “F*** Kim Reynolds,” police cars sitting on each side of the house.

After a few more minutes of chants, speakers took turns on the microphone, giving their thoughts on the Supreme Court ruling and the future of reproductive rights.

Protesters then marched back to Central Academy, continuing their chants showing dismay with the nation’s leaders, holding up signs with phrases like “Abortion is healthcare” or “‘He who hath not a uterus should shut the f***eth up,’ – Fallopians 13:13.”

Jalesha Johnson, leader of the protest said now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, she doesn’t feel much different from how she has throughout her adult life.

“I feel hopeful, I feel angry, I feel upset. But I also feel motivated to continue to make a movement, to make my city safer for all of the people that inhabit it.”

Johnson, 23, said she’s been organizing protests since she was 16. In order for the political climate in Iowa to change, she said, it’s going to take a lot of people showing that they’re fed up in a lot of different ways.

“I think it’s going to take folks using all of their excess energy, and pushing the people that are in power — making them feel pressured to do something to make this world safer,” Johnson from Des Moines said.

Deann Dalrymple, a demonstrator who attended protests in favor of abortion rights before the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, said she can’t believe she’s having to do this all over again.

“If they can overturn this, they can do whatever they want. It’s just another right that’s been taken away,” Dalrymple said.

Benjamin Mullin, a protester from Des Moines who attended with his partner, said he’s attending in support of women and to tell lawmakers, enough is enough.

“My fear is, the case that [Justice Clarence] Thomas said he wants to consider next is marriage equality … even the right to be in a same sex relationship is at risk,” Mullin said.

Mullin said he worries that the U.S. is on the precipice of becoming a theocratic, fascist state.

“We’ve seen a lot of a lot of the religious right rallying against us — against gay people, against trans people,” Mullin said. “And it’s really scary because we’ve been seeing this coming for years now. And now it’s happening.”

The demonstrators finished the protest by standing on each side of Grand Ave, cheering as departing demonstrators honked their horns.

Arryn Filippelli, who was at the protest with her 16-year-old niece, Leah Morris, said the fact that this is a topic that needs to be discussed is unfathomable.

“Considering how far we’ve come in other aspects of our lives, [the fact] that we’re going backwards so far is insane,” Morris said.

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