Staff photos by Lynne Hermansen
A group of local residents gathered together at Cornerstone Park Friday evening with signs and megaphones chanting and marching to Gardner City Hall protesting that day’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade through the court case ruling for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
The court upheld a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy in a decision by Justice Samuel Alito. The justices also voted 6 to 3 to strike down 1973’s Roe v. Wade and 1992’s Parenthood v. Casey ruling abortion is no longer a nationwide right and gave the power to ban the procedure back to the individual states.
Alito said Roe v. Wade was an abuse of judicial authority that relied on egregiously wrong reasoning and the right to abortion is not expressly mentioned in the Constitution or deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and tradition.
Four other justices agreed with Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts said he agreed to uphold Mississippi’s law but opposed fully overturning Roe v. Wade. The other three justices said in their dissent that they were sorrowful for the Court and the many millions of American women who had lost their fundamental constitutional protection.
The group of protestors voiced their emotions and opinions of the court case being reversed after 50 years from Cornerstone Park to the front of City Hall. They chanted repeatedly, “My body my choice” and “We are the people. We want justice for the people.”
Mark Holland, former Mayor of Kansas City, Kansas running for office against current Senator Jerry Moran, said it matters people stand up for women’s rights.
“We need to send a clear message that women’s rights are human rights,”he said. “Human rights belong in the constitution and aren’t for sale. What’s happening in our country right now is an attack on democracy and of just not women but on all citizens who believe we have a right to make decisions on our own bodies.”
Keith Davenport who is running for Representative of District 43 said he wanted to remind people of Kansas’ upcoming Constitutional Amendment item on the ballot for the upcoming August 2 Primary election.
“A yes vote gives the Kansas legislature unfettered power and a no vote keeps things the way they are,”he said.
Davenport is running for the Representative seat currently held by Representative Bill Sutton.
Sutton said on his social media pages that it was a glorious day for all of the country, as abortion law is now to be decided by the states, not the Supreme Court.
Kansas will be the first to vote on abortion rights following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling. Voters will decide whether the right to an abortion is protected by the Kansas Constitution.
The Kansas Constitution does not directly state “right to an abortion” but a 2019 Kansas Supreme Court ruling stated it protects a person’s right to personal autonomy that also includes decisions concerning pregnancy.
The proposed amendment would remove the right to abortion that currently exists and would state the government would not be required to provide funding for abortions. It would also give state legislators the right to pass laws regarding abortion.
Sutton said The Value Them Both Amendment would codify common sense regulation of the abortion industry and put the power back into the hands of elected Kansas representatives instead of non-elected judges.
Kansas residents registered by July 12 can vote on the amendment at the August 2 primary election.
The next protest against the Roe v. Wade decision will be July 6 at Gardner City Hall from 5 to 8p.m.