JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Founder’s Park was filled with people calling for political action in favor of abortion rights in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
For about an hour and a half Friday evening, the park’s amphitheater was filled with people carrying signs and giving speeches to the crowd.
The Rally for Reproductive Rights was organized by Women’s March Tri-Cities, which held a similar rally in May when the court’s decision leaked.
Many attendees expressed anger at the Supreme Court and Tennessee lawmakers.
Tennessee is one of several states with a trigger law, meaning abortion will become illegal in 30 days following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“I’m heartbroken and I’m really, really angry because this is our rights,” said Aria Inapa.
Cindy Humphrey, an organizer for the rally, called on people to get active in upcoming elections. She wants to see people elect abortion rights candidates.
“I hope it’s a call to action. We’ve got to get representation for everybody in this state,” Humphrey said.
Some at the rally said they’ve been fighting for abortion rights for most of their lives, and the court’s ruling won’t stop that.
“I was graduating from high school in 1973, so the year that Roe passed,” said Mary Kay Christophersen. “They didn’t have that choice when we were in high school to have an abortion unless they did some backstreet thing.”
But Inapa was concerned it would be a tall task to restore abortion rights at the federal level.
“It’s the Supreme Court. There’s not much we can vote for. It’s just crazy that those five people can decide to give our rights away,” Inapa said.
There was also concern with Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion that the court should re-examine landmark cases that secured same-sex marriage and the use of contraception.
For Humphrey, a gay woman, Thomas’ opinion was just as concerned as the abortion ban.
“I am very frightened about what happens. Then what? I’m going to go back to not having a marriage that’s recognized,” Humphrey said.
With abortions now set to be illegal in Tennessee, many were worried the future of women’s health care in the state will suffer.
“It moves us back 50 years. Now you don’t have safe legal abortions,” said Amanda Messick.
But it wasn’t just women in attendance. Several men and transgender people were there too.
Connor McClelland said it was important for men to come to the rally and show their support.
“To be a good man and be a good role model, you need to be able to support women and support their rights,” McClelland said.
Humphrey said the fight for abortion rights is far from over. She said Women’s March Tri-Cities will continue to push for safe and legal abortions.