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Bans Off Our Bodies protest draws demonstrators to support reproductive rights

Dozens of protestors gathered in Louisville Planned Parenthood parking lot to show their support for abortion access and reproductive rights.
Dozens of protestors gathered in Louisville Planned Parenthood parking lot to show their support for abortion access and reproductive rights.

Hundreds of people gathered outside of Planned Parenthood’s Louisville location on Saturday for the “Bans Off Our Bodies” day of action in support of abortion access.

Organizers planned the demonstration in response to a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court that suggests Roe v. Wade will be overturned in June.

Saturday's protest was one of many that have taken place across the country and state in the aftermath of the leak. 

“We know far too well the cruelty of politicians who want to be in our exam rooms whenever they have no place there,” said Jennifer Clay-Tucker, a worker at Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates of Kentucky who spoke at the rally.

Clay-Tucker said the state used to have 17 abortion providers, but that’s now down to two. Both of which, Planned Parenthood and EMW Women's Surgical Center, are located in Louisville.

In addition to the limited access to abortion providers, Kentucky is one of several states with a “trigger law” in place. If the Supreme Court proceeds with overturning Roe v. Wade, abortion would immediately become illegal in the state.

“I remember the days of the coat hangers and the back alleys,” protest attendee Sandy Dreher Davidson said. “I can’t believe it could happen again.”

Dreher Davidson said she believes overturning Roe v. Wade would place far too much pressure on pregnant people and essentially treat women as second-class citizens. 

Many attendees agreed with Dreher Davidson, adding that a reversal would put pregnant people in dangerous situations.

“I had an abortion when I had a wanted pregnancy that didn’t develop and was going toxic in my body,” Caroline Reisner said.

Without her abortion, Reisner said she wouldn’t have the family she has today, including the daughter she had 13 months later.

“Just having the opportunity to still be alive today and have my daughter means everything to me, and I want that for other people,” Reisner said.

Several politicians, including Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Charles Booker, were in attendance. State Representatives Nima Kulkarni and Josie Raymond, and state Sen. Karen Berg, all of whom are Democrats, spoke at the protest.

The state legislators all highlighted the importance of voting, particularly with primary elections taking place Tuesday.

“Elections matter, they always matter,” Kulkarni said. “Vote for candidates who will choose the safety of the people they represent.”

A small group of counter-demonstrators gathered outside of Planned Parenthood.

Correction: This article has been updated to accurately reflect the size of the crowd at the demonstration.

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.