“Bans Off Our Bodies” Protests in Wilmington and Georgetown Rallies for Abortion Rights, Part of Nationwide Day of Action
Actions in Wilmington and Georgetown two of more than 400 events in Cities Nationwide in Response to Leaked Supreme Court Opinion Overturning Roe v. Wade and the Constitutional Protections for Abortion
WILMINGTON & GEORGETOWN, DE — On Saturday, May 14, in Wilmington and Georgetown, and nationwide, thousands of abortion rights supporters gathered for a “Bans Off Our Bodies” day of action in support of abortion access and reproductive freedom.
"People across the First State rallied today with a simple message: we will not sit idly by while reproductive freedom is on the line,” says Mike Brickner, executive director of the ACLU of Delaware. “While Delaware has done important work to protect abortion rights, our elected officials must take further steps now to ensure equitable access to abortion healthcare. Every person who seeks an abortion in Delaware should be able to access — it no matter how much money they have, or where they come from."
The events, organized by Delaware NOW (National Organization for Women), Women’s March Sussex – DE, ACLU of Delaware, Black Mothers in Power, Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice, and Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Delaware, were part of a nationwide response after a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion revealed the court soon plans to overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate constitutional protections for abortion rights — a move that would likely lead 26 states to swiftly ban abortion.
Melissa Froemming, president of Delaware NOW (National Organization for Women), said "We have known the day when abortion access would be challenged at the Supreme Court is coming. This is not a surprise nor a secret. Abortion access has been systematically under attack in this country for decades. Make no mistake, Delaware and the other 12 "safe haven" states with codified abortion will be targeted next - and in earnest. Right now, it remains under attack in Sussex County by the all-male Seaford City Council. We cannot sit comfortably back and assume our state-protected right to abortion won’t be challenged. In addition, it is beyond time for us to acknowledge as a state that the right to abortion is not the same as equal access to abortion. We must secure Medicaid funded abortion, expand clinicians who can provide abortion, allow young people to access abortion freely and safely, and address disparities in reproductive healthcare access."
Abortion restrictions are unpopular: 80% of Americans want abortion to be legal. Nearly 1 in 4 women will have an abortion in their lifetime.
"Each of us should be able to live, work, and make decisions about our health and our future with dignity and respect," said Paulette Rappa, Chair of Women's March Sussex - DE. "When people can make decisions about their own reproductive health care, including whether and when to have children, they have more control over their economic security. When reproductive health care options are restricted, women lose control over their future options and it negatively changes the trajectory of their lives."
Shané Darby, Founder of Black Mothers in Power, stated "Abortion rights are meaningless without funded clinics in our communities, widely accessible medication abortion, expanding the list of those who can provide surgical abortion, and addressing disparities in reproductive healthcare access for Black and Brown people."
Rally organizers are calling on Delaware to ensure justice and equity for those seeking abortion care. Policy recommendations include Medicaid funding of abortion and doula services; requiring private insurance to cover abortion care without copayment, coinsurance, or deductibles; expanding clinicians who may provide abortions; allowing young people to access abortion freely and safely; guarding against local attempts to restrict abortion access; and addressing disparities in reproductive healthcare access for Black people. They also are urging people to vote for candidates who are supportive of ensuring reproductive rights. ACLU DE has created a pledge people can sign to be a voter for abortion access and reproductive freedom in 2022: https://action.aclu.org/signup/de-pledge-to-vote-for-repro-freedom.
Seaford resident and activist Pat A. Jones weighed in on the issue, noting how efforts close to home highlight the need for reinforced protections in Delaware. “The illegal fetal remains ordinance proposed in Seaford last year would force grieving families to bear additional costs and mental anguish unnecessarily. We need to ensure that abortion access remains protected from local ordinances like this one.”
By the time the Georgetown rally ended tonight, hundreds of people had turned out at the two Delaware events — despite rainy, cloudy weather — and thousands of people had turned out at events across the nation, including anchor events in New York City, Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, DC. Today, Americans in Delaware and beyond made it clear: Abortion care is our right, and we won’t back down from protecting it.
A folder with footage from the rallies is available for press use below (please credit any footage used to Delaware NOW (National Organization for Women)).