There was a total of more than one hundred protesters gathered together on Legislative Plaza this past Tuesday. They rallied for abortion rights, taking part in the nation wide Stop The Bans Day of Action.
This protest comes just days after Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the strictest abortion bans that the United States has seen in recent years. Under Alabama’s legislation, nearly all types of abortion in the state are banned. Even the performance of an abortion is felony at almost all stages of pregnancy. Abortions for victims of rape and incest aren’t exempt from the restriction.
Throughout the protest there was protesters gathered in a large circle. They spoke out about their own personal stories and also shared their experiences with abortion. Many speakers who were volunteers from the crowd stated that the lack of reproductive rights, including abortion, had led to tragedy and hardship in their lives.
“Abortion is health care,” said Zoe Dominguez, a fifteen year old student at Beech High School in Hendersonville. “It is a right, and it is being stripped away from women in all of those different states. I think that’s ridiculous.”
Dominguez was one of several protesters that were wearing a “Handmaid’s Tale” costume for the protest. “Handmaid’s Tale” is a Hulu TV show that’s based on a book by Margaret Atwood. The show is based around a fundamentalist regime that simply treats women as property rather than as a human being.
Change needs to be made
“I believe we need to change the conversation about abortion,” said Jennifer Vannoy, 50. Vannoy is a Murfreesboro resident who lost a race for state House District 34 in 2018. “We need to bring abortion and women’s rights out of the Capitol and put it back into the hands of the women … I don’t think it should even be a political issue.”
Various organizations including Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood, All* Above All Action Fund, ACLU, EMILY’s List, Indivisible, MoveOn, NARAL Pro-Choice America, UltraViolet and Women’s March were also a part of the effort to put on the rally.
“We’ve seen our legislators in Tennessee try to pass similar bans, which we beat back,” said Francie Hunt, the executive director for Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood. “But we understand that our friends in Alabama and Georgia are fighting a very similar battle to what we fought here.”
In recent years there has been a number of abortion restrictions in Tennessee. One failed bill, the “heartbeat” abortion bill, stated that abortions after six weeks would be banned. Then, a “trigger” abortion ban was looked upon, which banned abortions in the state if the Supreme Court alters or overturns the Roe v. Wade decision. The bill was later signed into law.