It was a sunny, eighty-degree day downtown as protesters gathered for abortion rights. MARRCH, the Madison Abortion and Reproductive Rights Coalition for Healthcare, sponsored the event.
Organizer Kim Gasper-Rabuck says this action was particularly focused at raising awareness among students.
“We wanted to be reaching out to a big chunk of people whom this is impacting, and many of whom don’t even know that it’s going to impact them until it does, until it happens. We know that this is an emergency, and we need to help other people understand that there is no legal abortion in Wisconsin. Period. And there are literally thousands of people at UW Madison campus who do not know that,” Gasper-Rabuck says.
The group of approximately fifty demonstrators amassed at Library Mall and marched up State Street. Along the route, activists passed out flyers, waved banners, and held signs. Many pedestrians cheered and honked in support, while a few joined the crowd.
At the Capitol steps, the Raging Grannies group performed three protest songs. As member Suzy Bickley describes, the group formed in Canada when the United States was bringing nuclear subs into Vancouver harbor. The Madison chapter formed in response to the Iraq War. Bickley says all members the time before Roe v. Wade, and they refuse to go back.
“We marched in the 1960s for the right to contraception, for the right to women’s health, for abortion. I mean, we never even said the word abortion, we were looking for contraception back in the day. I’m talking about an age in which women were really meant to keep quiet, especially about sex and health.”
Bickley compared that to the Dobbs decision, and the loss of federal abortion protections. “We started way back then, and I can’t tell you how angry we are at just tearing up Roe v. Wade. I mean, we grew up not expecting it, but when we got it, we never thought we’d lose it.”
The protest lasted over two hours and wound down Langdon street. Frat brothers watched while they rinsed their beer-soaked porches. One sorority cheered as they enjoyed a pizza party on their front lawn, yet none ventured forth to join. Most students stopped to watch the crowd pass before continuing their walk home.
Gasper-Rabuck concluded with future steps.
“This is about getting hundreds of to be leaders, rather than being led. And so the next steps for us are to really grow both the knowledge of what the crisis is on campus and grow a grassroots movement.”
Photos: Christopher Cartwright/WORT News.