Group of Unalaskans marches for women’s abortion rights
Around a dozen people gathered in downtown Unalaska in front of Chief Alexei Courthouse on Mother’s Day to march in support of federal protections of women’s abortion rights.
Meaghan Faneuf organized the march after a draft opinion from Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. was leaked. The opinion indicates Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that established federal protection of abortion rights, could be on the brink of being overturned.
Faneuf said she wasn’t surprised by the leaked opinion, but still deeply upset by it.
“I am not angry, I’m livid,” she said. “And I will continue to be livid until the federal government makes abortion into law that cannot be changed.”
Around the country, advocates of abortion rights have been in an uproar since the opinion was leaked in early April, but the court is not set to issue a ruling until early summer.
Faneuf said the timing of the march was a way to elevate women.
“Obviously it's Sunday, it's Mother's Day,” she said. “What better day to come out and support mothers who choose to become mothers, … women who do not choose motherhood, all different kinds of families. We’re out here for everybody's rights.”
Unalaska resident Tammy Fowler Pound shared Faneuf’s anger. She said a woman’s choice to have an abortion is a private healthcare issue. She said she was “raging” about the decision.
“I'm concerned about young women across this nation. Being put in situations that are going to be difficult for them, regardless of why they might need or want an abortion, it doesn't matter,” she said.
Most of the people protesting held signs, with slogans like “Keep Abortion Safe, Legal and Accessible,” “Women’s Rights are Human Rights,” and “Fishermen for Women’s Rights.”
The march was peaceful as the participants walked the half mile to City Hall. They did not run into any counter-protests.
Abortion is legally protected by the state constitution in Alaska. But some anti-abortion advocates see the prospect of an overturned Roe as a chance to impose limits. Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration has joined other lawsuits challenging Roe v. Wade, and proclaimed Right to Life Day in Alaska. Some conservative advocates and politicians have urged Alaskans to vote for a constitutional convention, in part to limit abortion in the state.
Fanauf said she wants to discourage the government from passing laws limiting abortions.
“We are out here to be loud, to be proud and to tell our lawmakers that we are not going to be quiet. So, basically, thank God for abortion. A-woman,” she said.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to release its final opinion on the case that could overturn Roe v. Wade sometime before June.