CLEVELAND (WJW) – Dozens of abortion rights activists carrying signs gathered Friday night at Wade Oval in University Circle in Cleveland.

Two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, they say it’s important to continue raising awareness and fighting for abortion rights.

The Supreme Courts decision sent the issue back to the states for them to decide whether or not to allow abortions.

Some states, including Kentucky, Louisiana and South Dakota, had already enacted trigger laws which immediately made abortion illegal.

“Abortion is healthcare. Multiple people are being hurt by this. I mean, families are being hurt, especially individuals within the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community, marginalized women, people that are lower middle class,” said a protestor named Alexis.

Earlier in the day, President Joe Biden announced and signed an executive he says will protect access to reproductive healthcare services.

“The practice of medicine should not be frozen in the 19th century,” said Biden. “It’s outrageous and it’s dangerous.”

The administration says the executive order defends reproductive rights by:

  • Safeguarding access to reproductive health care services, including abortion and contraception;
  • Protecting the privacy of patients and their access to accurate information;
  • Promoting the safety and security of patients, providers, and clinics; and
  • Coordinating the implementation of Federal efforts to protect reproductive rights and access to health care.

It directs the Department of Health and Human Services to expand access to abortion care including emergency contraceptives and IUDs.

It also calls for the formation of a Reproductive Health Care Task Force to give technical assistance to states for out-of-state patients and to convene volunteer lawyers to fight any officials interfering with these rights.

“To ensure all patients, including pregnant women and girls, get the emergency care they need under federal law,” said Biden.

In response to the executive order, Ohio Right to Life called it “a hollow order that made matters more divisive” and “a publicity stunt to pander to pro-abortion advocates.”

The organization’s president Michael Gonidakis also said, “No state can prohibit interstate travel for any reason yet this order requires the federal government to fight a law that doesn’t exist.”

However, he also said illegal drugs can’t be shipped from one state to another and “any state that is abortion free has the constitutional right to prohibit such activity.” 

At the rally in Cleveland, some protestors were very supportive and others lukewarm on the executive order.

“I was very pleased, very pleased that he has taken a stand on it,” said Sharon Flaherty. “I don’t struggle so much with the idea of states taking over the issue, but I do with the six-week issue and just fundamentally that it is a step in the wrong direction.”

“I thought it was great but it’s not enough. Roe v. Wade should’ve been codified a long time ago,” Alexis added.