CLEVELAND (WJW) — In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and ended Constitutional protection of abortion rights, Clevelanders took part in rallies for a third straight day to protest the historic ruling.
Chanting “my body, my choice,” protesters who gathered at Willard Park say the decision deprives women of a right that had been guaranteed since 1973. The ruling by the high court returns the power to set abortion policy to elected officials in each state. Lawmakers in 20 states, including Ohio, have already taken steps to ban abortion.
As they chanted “we will not go back, we will not go back,” abortion rights supporters vowed to keep pressure on Congress until lawmakers take action to codify the right to an abortion into federal law, as President Biden suggested on Friday.
At a separate protest on Public Square, abortion rights activists voiced their opposition to Ohio’s Heatbeat Law that was enacted on Friday. It is designed to prevent abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
Protesters say they are prepared to help women travel to other states, where abortion is legal. One speaker at the rally told attendees, “keep your appointment because in Ohio, we will get you to Pennsylvania, we will pay for your car, we will pay for your hotel and we will pay for your appointment.”
Protesters say the new Heartbeat Law and outright bans on abortion are unfair to the poor.
“And to put that burden on people who don’t necessarily have the means or the want to actually go through with a pregnancy is just outright absurd and cruel,” said Riley Petro.
But the executive director of Right to Life of Northeast Ohio says the toppling of Roe v. Wade is a “massive step towards recognizing the inherent dignity of every human life.”
When asked if Friday’s ruling could spark a revolution, Allie Frazier responded, “I think it’s going to spark a movement of pro-lifers who are ready to actually step forward and protect women and babies and take care of them.”
During an abortion rights rally in Columbus Sunday, Sen. Sherrod Brown called out members of the Ohio General Assembly for their support of a ban on abortions.
Sen. Brown told the audience, “in this building behind me, in this building sits one of the most extremist legislatures in the United States of America. Extremist, extremist on guns, they’d rather protect AR-15s than they would women’s health rights.”
In response, Allie Frazier said, “they are passing what Ohioans prioritize, which is life. Ohioans are pro-family, they are pro-life, they are pro-woman. They want to make sure that from the moment of conception, every Ohioan is protected.”