Hundreds march in Petaluma for reproductive rights

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Hundreds of people showed up Sunday in Petaluma’s Penry Park for a march in support of reproductive rights.

At least 500 people, many of whom appeared to be members of families who brought their children, joined as the march began around 10:30 a.m.

Carrying signs reading “Beware Your Own Womb” and “An Angry Grandma Beware,” along with “Men Who Don’t Support Reproductive Rights Are Small Energy,” protesters chanted as they headed to Petaluma City Hall. in anticipation of a planned rally.

The march was organized in response to the US Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court ruling that essentially legalized abortion in the United States.

Friday’s decision removes any constitutional protections for abortion that were established under the 49-year ruling, as well as any additional protections established as a result of a 1992 ruling that reaffirmed abortion as a right.

Several states have already banned abortions in their jurisdictions, while others, like California, are working to keep abortions legal within their borders.

Among the crowds on Sunday were members of the North Bay Organizing Project, Mask Sonoma and Indivisible Marin.

March organizers Eirinie Carson and Sarah Seitchik, as well as Petaluma Mayor Teresa Barrett, City Councilwoman D’Lynda Fischer and Democratic State Assembly candidate Sara Aminzadeh, delivered remarks.

“It’s ridiculous that a woman my age is dealing with this issue again. This is something we fought for and won and thought was settled,” Barrett, who is in his early 70s, said Sunday. “Everyone needs this right, just as everyone needs the right to breathe clean air and access clean water. It is a basic right.”

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One protester who brought her three daughters with her worried that the Supreme Court’s decision would pave the way to question other established precedents.

“I am concerned that this is the beginning of our rights being taken away,” said Mary Wade, 55, a resident of Santa Rosa. “What’s next? Access to birth control? Gay marriage?

“I don’t want to go back to the 50s,” he added.

Tamariah Doyle, 24, who said she had an abortion in 2019 because her relationship, life and financial situation was not stable enough to raise a child.

“It’s heartbreaking. I checked so many media outlets when I found out on Friday. I couldn’t believe it,” Doyle said. “I am afraid of what will happen next.”

Another attendee who said she had an abortion a few months ago was grateful to live in a state that supports reproductive rights. She said it’s heartbreaking to know how difficult it could be for people in states where abortions will now be illegal.

“It’s a very personal medical experience,” said Emily Wood, 42. “What you decide to do with your body should not be dictated by someone else. This should not be illegal.”

Carson, a mother of two daughters, said anger at the Supreme Court action led her and Seitchik to organize Sunday’s march.

“We are fighting for the rights of all people with a uterus in this country, that includes our LGBTQ+ community,” Carson said. “Marching is not enough. It is crucial that we provide funds to states that need them and that we continue to lobby our local, state and federal legislators.”

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**Publisher’s note: Sara Aminzadeh is a Democratic candidate for the state Assembly in District 12.

You can reach staff writer Mya Constantino at [email protected] @searchingformya on Twitter.