GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — People gathered to protest in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
A few dozen pro-abortion rights protesters gathered at Monument Park in Grand Rapids on Friday evening. People came with signs reading “End the war on women,” and “Abortion is healthcare.” They chanted “My body, my choice.”
Another group started to form at Rosa Parks Circle and eventually the two groups merged into one, creating a crowd of about a hundred marching across downtown Grand Rapids.
Sonya and David Lewis were on vacation in Saugatuck when they heard the news.
“It was still a punch to the gut regardless. Just sad and angry,” said Sonya Lewis.
They quickly found the nearest protest in Grand Rapids.
“I have two daughters and I’m mostly just sad for them and for their generation to know they will have fewer rights than I have. It’s appalling.”
“I think today’s decision is gonna result in immense suffering for women who it’s just not time for them to be pregnant,” said George Bartnick, who was at the protest.
At Bronson Park in Kalamazoo, more than 100 protesters gathered just before 5 p.m. carrying similar signs and chanting.
People representing Michigan’s Reproductive Freedom for All ballot initiative gathered at both the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo protests, asking people for signatures. They will need 425,059 signatures by July 11th to put that initiative on the ballot this November, which would put the decision to voters to decide whether to amend the state constitution to guarantee abortion access.
In Lansing, there was another protest at the State Capitol. Governor Gretchen Whitmer spoke to the crowd.
“We cannot stew in this moment we must turn it into mobilization and action,” she said.
Whitmer, who has signed the ballot petition herself, has also filed a lawsuit asking the Michigan Supreme Court to guarantee abortions.
“Now the state you live in decides what kind of rights you have if you’re a woman in America. You no longer have control over your own body. Are we gonna give up, are we gonna curl up in a ball as sad and as angry as we feel?”
In a 6-3 decision on Friday, the U.S. Supreme court overturned its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, again allowing states to ban abortion.
Michigan has a 1931 law on the books that makes it illegal to perform most abortions. However, in May, a state judge suspended enforcement of that ban. That means, in Michigan, women can still get an abortion.
Planned Parenthood has challenged the 1931 law. Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference have worked to oppose the Planned Parenthood suit.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat, said she would not enforce the abortion ban or go after providers’ licenses.