Sunday marked 50 years since Roe v. Wade was decided. Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional protection for abortion, so on Saturday, women gathered to continue the fight toward women’s equity.
Marisa Dirks, media and communications coordinator for the Longmont Area Democrats, was a co-organizer of the Bigger Than Roe Rally held in Longmont on Saturday. She said that the rally started organically, as the Longmont Leads with Love vigil group meets every Saturday in Main Street in Longmont. Dirks, along with Longmont vigil event planner Kathy Partridge, helped organize the Bigger Than Roe Rally for those who could not go to Denver to participate in women’s rights marches.
Dirks said that many marches have language about “mourning the loss of 50 years of reproductive rights,” instead of a celebration of a 50-year anniversary.
Dirks shared that the overturning of Roe v. Wade is upsetting. She said that she remembers being in elementary school and not being allowed to wear pants and instead being obligated to wear a skirt. So when Roe v. Wade passed in 1973, when she was 13, it showed her that women are allowed to have autonomy over their own bodies. While she did not have a personal connection to the cause, she understood what it meant toward a more progressive view of women’s rights.
Dirks said that she and many women at the rally chose to not focus on the negatives but rather the positives — for example, Colorado’s Reproduction Health Equity Act, which gives people the right to reproductive health care decisions without government interference.
“It’s just common sense for there to be true equality, and that includes a person’s autonomy over their body,” Dirks said Sunday.
Dirks said that despite Colorado passing progressive legislation, it should not be taken for granted. She said that voter information is important, so that people make an informed vote and make sure that the people they vote into office represent them properly.
Debbie Pope, CEO of YWCA Boulder County and chair of the Women’s Collaborative of Boulder County, fights and advocates for intersectional feminism, helping women of all races, income-levels and education. Pope said that she believes that information is power, and people need to be educated on many issues so they can make informed decisions, especially when voting.
Pope shared that she was born the same year that Roe v. Wade passed, and that until recently, she has always lived in a world where she had reproduction health rights.
“We are beyond Roe,” Pope said. “What do we need to be doing now and into the future to make sure that we are protecting women’s rights and human rights?”
She said that a ban on abortion goes much further than just reproductive health discussions but is a step backwards for women’s equality. She said that it is disrespectful how much women are having to go through the same motions to fight for rights that they already had. She said that it feels like women cannot be trusted to make decisions over their own bodies and health.
Pope explained that since Colorado does still allow abortions, many people travel into the state to get one and that they deserve to be protected. She said she is working to combat deceptive advertising, saying that sometimes advertisements for reproductive health care are run by an anti-abortion clinic. She wants to make sure that people know where they are going and what to expect.
Pope said that since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, she has seen women’s rights groups be reinvigorated with a younger crowd, who will be future women’s equality leaders.
Boulder Daily Camera
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