On Sunday, June 26 at 10 a.m. protesters gathered in front of the Kansas City city hall building in the wake of the Roe v. Wade ruling which overturned a 50-year Constitutional right to abortion. The protest started small and gained participants as the morning continued. By around noon, the protest had enough members to walk the city block in a march, continuing to hold signs and chant slogans such as "My body, my choice" and "Not the church, not the state, people must decide their fate."
Missouri’s “trigger ban” went into effect following the overturn decision on June 24. Kansas, however, will vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban abortion on August 2.
Mackenzie Williams, one of the organizers of the event, spoke about about why she feels strongly about the ruling. "I personally have had an abortion because I was in an abusive relationship,” she said. “So for me, it hits home. I just want everyone to have the same right that I did at the time because it was difficult for me to find a Planned Parenthood and even be able to afford to get an abortion. So for people to now have all these other obstacles [as well], that's not okay."
This protest included a large number of LGBTQIA+ community members as well. A trans woman, who asked to remain anonymous, explained: "I'm down here because I'm trans, and beyond that, just being in solidarity with other women because obviously, that's important. I am a woman, I want to support other women, and if somebody comes after bodily autonomy that's kind of central to my existence.”
She also spoke to broader issues around bodily autonomy faced by the trans community. “If I do not have bodily autonomy at this point, I can't even live. I mean, like, I've had my surgery and everything. I do not produce any hormones naturally. If my hormones are taken away, the natural reaction my body will go through is osteoporosis, causing my bones to basically dissolve. Meaning it could kill me."
Given the framing of the SCOTUS decision, left-wing justices have warned that other decisions, including related to same-sex marriage, contraception access and other right to privacy concerns, could also be at risk of overturn.
When asked what else she might want the local community to know about she continued, "The 2022 Texas Republican Platform, it's a PDF. You can look it up on Google. It's 40 pages, and even though it's a horrible fascist document that will make you depressed, everybody needs to read it. Everybody needs to know what's in it, because they are threatening to remove voting rights."
The document is a June 16, 2022 Report of the Permanent Platform & Resolutions Committee from the Republican Party of Texas. Pages 34-35 describe a number of proposed changes to voting, including requiring re-registration, tightening voter ID requirements, fewer allowances for mail-in voting and closed primaries. Point 244 also reads, “We support equal suffrage for all United States citizens of voting age. We oppose any identification of citizens by race, origin, creed, sexuality, or lifestyle choices, and oppose use of any such identification for purposes of creating voting districts. We urge that the Voting Rights Act of 1965, codified and updated in 1973, be repealed and not reauthorized.”
Tasha McBride, another attendee, stated, "I'm here to represent women, young women. Just the community that doesn't deserve to be moved backward, to [have] our rights taken away, to try to make us bow down to their beliefs and [I'm here] to stand up for the rights of everybody."
Williams, the organizer, recommended their Facebook page, Equality for ALL Women, and Twitter, @Equality4allwom, for anyone looking to get involved.