‘How Can You Do This to Women?’ Pro Choice Advocates March in Downtown Casper
Cheryl Parlett was 14 years old when a friend of hers died after getting, in her words, 'a back door abortion.' Almost two years later, Roe v. Wade became law.
That was in 1973. Jane Roe, and others, took on Henry Wade and changed the course of history for pregnant women for the next 50 years.
According to texts from the case:
"A pregnant single woman (Roe) brought a class action challenging the constitutionality of the Texas criminal abortion laws, which proscribe procuring or attempting an abortion except on medical advice for the purpose of saving the mother's life. A licensed physician (Hallford), who had two state abortion prosecutions pending against him, was permitted to intervene. A childless married couple (the Does), the wife not being pregnant, separately attacked the laws, basing alleged injury on the future possibilities of contraceptive failure, pregnancy, unpreparedness for parenthood, and impairment of the wife's health. A three-judge District Court, which consolidated the actions, held that Roe and Hallford, and members of their classes, had standing to sue and presented justiciable controversies. Ruling that declaratory, though not injunctive, relief was warranted, the court declared the abortion statutes void as vague and overbroadly infringing those plaintiffs' Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The court ruled the Does' complaint not justiciable. Appellants directly appealed to this Court on the injunctive rulings, and appellee cross-appealed from the District Court's grant of declaratory relief to Roe and Hallford."
In short, because of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States would generally protect a person's liberty to choose to have an abortion or not.
That all changed on June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court, consisting of three Trump-appointed judges, reversed Roe v. Wade, struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, rolling back abortion rights for women.
And now Casper, a city in a typically Red, Conservative-Republican state, is fighting back. Or, at least a section of people who live in the city are.
Which is why, on Saturday, July 9, 2022, several men, women, and children gathered at David Street Station to march for the rights that, they believe, were taken away by the Supreme Court.
Protesters marched from David Street Station to the court house on Center Street, the whole time chanting things like 'Our Body, Our Choice,' and
"So originally, there was a guy who I'm friends with on Facebook who was going to organize this protest, but he got a lot of backlash from women saying that he was stepping on their toes," said Eden Taggart, the young woman who organized the protest. "So I just messaged him and I told him that I would take it over if he was cool with it."
It was a big undertaking for the young woman, but she pulled it off without a hitch, receiving help from a friend and from her grandmother - the same woman who lost her friend at just 14 years of age.
"I lost a friend when I was 14," Cheryl Parlett told K2 Radio News. "She got pregnant. She had what we called a 'back door abortion.' She got septic and she died. I could go on with many stories."
Parlett was a young girl, herself, when Roe v. Wade first became law. So to see the nation take a step backwards, in her mind, the consequences were troubling.
"This was just devastating to me," she said. "When the announcement came out, I was really upset. But when they actually did it, I sat and cried for a couple of days. I didn't want to talk to anybody. I wanted to be left alone. This is horrible. How can you do this to women?"
They can do it because the Supreme Court is the court with all of the power. According to their own government website, "The Court is the highest tribunal in the Nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States. As the final arbiter of the law, the Court is charged with ensuring the American people the promise of equal justice under law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution."
Unfortunately for pro choice proponents, six of the nine Supreme Court judges do not believe abortion is a constitutional right.
An article written in 1995 and published by the National Library of Medicine states that "Americans enjoy certain fundamental liberties which are protected by the US Constitution. The right to abortion is not one of these freedoms. The Bill of Rights balances individual rights and majority rule by allowing the majority to pass legislation through its elected representatives. The decision in Roe v. Wade is an example of such legislation passed by pro-choice Supreme Court judges. As such, the author stresses that a conservative Supreme Court could one day enact legislation denying women in the US the right to abortion on demand."
And that is exactly what has happened.
"This is the first of many things to get overturned and turned back," said Steven Parlett. "They've already taken away indigenous sovereignty, Miranda Rights, privacy rights, women's rights. They're gonna be coming for em all."
So, the people do what they can. They make signs. They yell into megaphones. They march. They wave hangers in the air, screaming that they "won't go back."
But, they may just have to. Advocates of pro choice rights have said that the overturning of Roe v. Wade won't stop abortions; it will just stop safe abortions.
"Honestly, I was shocked," Taggart stated. "Like, when I first heard that it was going to be overturned, that they were talking about it, I was thinking that would never happen. They can't do that. That would never happen. And then it happened. And everyone was so devastated in my family; my mom, my grandma, everyone. It was just shocking. Really upsetting."
Hundreds of thousands of women (and men) were shocked and appalled by the decision of the Supreme Court. And, judging by the response from the Downtown Casper march, and the rally the preceded it in May, they are not going to go quietly into that good night. They are going to fight. They are going to push. And nevertheless, they are going to persist.