Reiko Redmonde hands out fliers to protesters at Lytton Plaza on Feb. 14. Redmonde led chants and gave a speech to the crowd. “That is what denying women the right to abortion is — that’s female enslavement,” Redmonde said into her megaphone. “Where do you stand on this? We want people to take a stand one way or the other.” (Maya)
Reiko Redmonde hands out fliers to protesters at Lytton Plaza on Feb. 14. Redmonde led chants and gave a speech to the crowd. “That is what denying women the right to abortion is — that’s female enslavement,” Redmonde said into her megaphone. “Where do you stand on this? We want people to take a stand one way or the other.”

Maya

Raging Grannies fight for abortion rights

Local activists demonstrate against the potential loss of reproductive rights

March 3, 2022

“Abortion on demand and without apology!” 

Bundled in jackets and scarves, the Raging Grannies chant and hold signs as passing cars honk, some in support and some in anger.

Dressed as the deceased Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Ruth Robertson waves her gavel and leads chants in opposition to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that upholds reproductive rights.

Robertson — who was fighting for reproductive rights nearly 50 years ago as a teen in Hawaii —  leads the local branch of the Raging Grannies, an organization of women who promote promote progressive causes through public protest. On Feb. 14, the Grannies held a protest on the corner of University Avenue and Emerson Street in Palo Alto with around 20 attendees.

Ruth Robertson, a leader of the local Raging Grannies organization, leads a chant at the group’s protest on Feb. 14. Robertson has been pushing for reproductive rights since her teen years in Hawaii, before Roe v. Wade was decided. “Reproductive justice is about so much more than just abortion rights,” Robertson said. “Roe v. Wade is about all kinds of things; it’s about privacy, it’s about consensual sex in your own house, it’s about marriage equality, LGBTQI rights. Certain kinds of fertility treatments are going to be in danger.”

The Grannies organized the demonstration in response to the threat Roe v. Wade is facing. The Supreme Court will decide on the constitutionality of an abortion restriction in Mississippi in the coming months. If the verdict allows the Mississippi law to stand, Roe v. Wade will be severely weakened and could be overturned entirely.

“Most people don’t know that “Roe” is severely under attack and it’s likely to be reversed before summer,” said Vara Ramakrishnan, one of the demonstration’s organizers. “[We] try and raise awareness because we know that the vast majority of Americans are pro-choice.”

According to National Public Radio, 77% of Americans are against Roe v. Wade being overturned, but most still want restrictions on abortion.

Many community members joined the demonstration. Attendee Eve Moran attended with her young daughter and a sign questioning the true meaning of “pro-life.”

“My children go to school and have to practice pretending to be shot at because we won’t solve any gun problems or violence problems,” Moran said. “So, I’d like to have a genuinely safe pro-life nation where it’s safe to grow up, and people actually get the healthcare they need without being forced to have children they don’t want.”

Looking forward, the Grannies are planning a march on International Women’s Day, March 8, to continue advocating for reproductive rights. 

“The truth is that when you have the power that the court has — a six-to-three majority — the only way to stop them is mass unrest, peaceful protests,” Ramakrishnan said. “That is the only way rights have been won.”

 

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