Pro-choice advocates condemn Supreme Court decision at Santa Barbara rally
Hundreds of people on the Santa Barbara County Courthouse lawn listened to pro-choice speakers at the end of a day that started with the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
The crowd at the early evening Planned Parenthood California Central Coast rally in Santa Barbara carried handmade signs with messages such as “The UnSupreme Court” and “Not the church, not the state; women will decide our fate.” Motorists passing them Friday on Anacapa Street honked in support.
After the rally at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, the pro-choice supporters marched down nearby streets.
The rally took place at the same time as similar Planned Parenthood gatherings at the San Luis Obispo County Courthouse in San Luis Obispo and the Ventura County Government Center in Ventura.
During the Santa Barbara rally, speakers urged the crowd, made up of women and men, to support the fight to restore the federal abortion right.
“Tonight we mourn. Tomorrow we fight back,” a woman who simply identified herself as Chloe told the crowd.
Chloe said she was thankful she was able to get an abortion when she and her partner realized they weren’t ready to become parents.
Another speaker, the Rev. Dr. David Moore, stressed the importance of not going backward on the climb up the ladder of freedom.
“We can’t afford to allow the rungs to disappear so that nobody can climb this ladder,” Dr. Moore said.
Elena Anderson, chair of the Planned Parenthood Central Coast Action Fund, stressed that the nonprofit would fight for reproductive rights.
“We knew this (the Supreme Court ruling) was coming, but it still doesn’t take away the sting,” she said. “There are so many feelings of heartbreak and hurt.”
Ms. Anderson said the ruling will disproportionately affect “black folks, people of color, trans folk, people who can’t afford to get to California or other states where they can have access” to an abortion.
Luz Reyes-Martin, vice president of community engagement for Planned Parenthood California Central Coast, hosted the rally and ended the rally by calling on pro-choice supporters to take action.
“Here’s something you can do: Vote in every election,” Ms. Reyes-Martin said. “California will have an opportunity to put the right to abortion and contraceptives in the California state constitution.” (The proposed constitutional amendment will require the approval of two-thirds of legislators before it appears on the Nov. 8 ballot.)
“You can donate to abortion funds at abortionfund.org,” she said. “We need to get resources to as many people as possible, to help them overcome the barriers to access.
“You can support your local Planned Parenthood,” she said. “We’re not going anywhere.”