Three sisters approached the Utah Capitol on Sunday cloaked in red hooded robes and little white bonnets meant to help shield their faces. Each sister held a sign that read ‘Of Alito’ ‘Of Thomas’ ‘Of Gorsuch,’ as chants from other pro-choice demonstrators echoed around them.
They were three of the roughly 100 people marching at the Capitol on Mother’s Day in support of women’s bodily autonomy. Many marched around the perimeter of the Capitol, holding signs and shouting chants like ‘Hey, hey, ho, ho the patriarchy has got to go.’
Jennie Morris bought the three outfits the moment she discovered the U.S. Supreme Court opinion signaled a possible overturning of the landmark decision Roe v. Wade, which protects constitutional abortion rights, was leaked.
“It just brought me right back to the show and how awful it was for women,” Morris said referring to the popular TV drama ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ about fertile women who are captured by the government and forced to have children to combat a fertility crisis. “It feels like it’s actually happening in real-time. And it’s unbelievable.”
Morris’s two sisters, Starla Holder and Paula Shepherd, stood beside her with the same outfit and reason for showing up at the Capitol—to preserve the rights of future women and girls who may need an abortion one day, including their own children.
One of the marching organizers, Juliet Reynolds, with Utah Alliance Coalition and founder of the Murray Equity Alliance, was pleased with the turnout on Mother’s Day.
“What a better tribute to show to mothers that our bodies are our control,” Reynolds said with a raspy voice from all the chanting. “We’re all mothers,” she said pointing to the crowd, “we’re here for our kids and we’re here for their choices.”
For the three sisters, marching on Mother’s Day was of particular importance. Their children joined them at the Capitol. So did their mother Karen Shepheard, a former Utah congresswoman. She served as a Democrat from 1993-1995 in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Shepheard remembers when the Supreme Court decided to uphold abortion as a constitutional right in 1973. She had just given birth to her second child and, while she knew she wouldn’t have anymore more children, she felt free and in charge of her body.
However, with the threat of Roe v. Wade being overturned, that’s changed since for Shepheard.
“This is the first constitutional right that has been taken away from anyone,” Shepheard said. “Everything else has been expanding rights. But they’re taking away constitutional rights for women.”
Other attendees felt similarly to Shepheard.
Kathy and Don Hudson showed up at the Capitol for their kids, grandkids and great-grandchild. The fight over abortion and bodily autonomy is something Kathy lived through. And she fears if SCOTUS overturns Roe v. Wade that it would cause a domino effect, threatening other protected rights.
“This [abortion] fight started so long ago, so long ago,” she said, “and here we are again.”
“What if they try and take away contraception next? Or attack gay marriage?,” she said
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