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On Independence Day, protesters demand ‘bodily autonomy’ and abortion rights

Signs at an abortion access protest along Bardstown Road in Louisville on July 4, 2022.
Signs at an abortion access protest along Bardstown Road in Louisville on July 4, 2022.

Protesters gathered on July 4th to demand politicians take immediate action to protect abortion access.  

The local branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation organized Monday’s march in the Highlands.

While addressing the crowd, Stephanie Smith listed off several demands, including that President Joe Biden use his executive power to protect abortion access and declare a public health emergency.  

“Lives are on the line,” she said. “We cannot afford to wait to vote in November, and we demand that President Joe Biden act now.”

She also called on Biden to use federal land and facilities to provide abortion care

Organizers also said local politicians, including Mayor Greg Fischer and Metro Council, should pass an ordinance to decriminalize abortion care in Louisville and make it a sanctuary city for people seeking abortions. 

During the demonstration, people in the crowd and those who took the microphone also expressed outrage over news, reported by the Courier Journal, that Biden would back the lifetime appointment of an anti-abortion federal judge in an apparent deal with Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Stephanie Willis of Louisville said she felt numb when she heard news of last month’s Supreme Court ruling.

“This is a travesty that we don't have bodily autonomy and control over our own health care,” Willis said.

Johanna Camenisch held a sign that read, “We won’t go back. We will fight back.” She remembers what it was like before Roe v. Wade. 

“What brings me out here? I couldn’t stay home because of what’s happening in our nation,” she said.

After Roe v Wade was overturned, Kentucky’s trigger law banning abortion immediately went into effect. But in the wake of lawsuits from Kentucky’s two providers, abortions are still accessible, for now, because a Jefferson County judge temporarily halted the laws. The state’s attorney general Daniel Cameron has appealed with the Kentucky Supreme Court after an appellate court judge denied his request to enforce the laws.


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