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PRO-CHOICE RALLY: Group encourages Kansans to vote NO
Protesters object to Supreme Court ruling
Sydney Perez, organizer of Wednesday’s rally, is seen wearing a flag that reads “Pro Women - Pro Choice.” - photo by photos by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

A vocal but peaceful group gathered in front of the courthouse Wednesday for a “Save Reproductive Rights in Kansas” rally. Approximately 40 people, many with handmade signs, chanted slogans and cheered when motorists honked while passing by.

Sydney Perez, an Ellsworth County woman who grew up in the Barton-Pawnee County area, was one of the organizers of the rally that was promoted by word of mouth and on social media.

The purpose of the gathering was two-fold, Perez said. First, it was to protest the Supreme Court’s ruling last Friday to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. It was also intended to encourage Kansans to vote “no” on the Aug. 2 ballot question, a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution.

Perez said she attended a rally in Manhattan two days after the Supreme Court decision. Pro-choice demonstrations were also held at Topeka and in cities across the nation.

“I thought, ‘why can’t we get something together in central Kansas?’” Perez said. “Many people feel this way. We are here to demonstrate our disagreement and we’re also here to raise voter awareness.”

The rally brought people of all ages. One woman pushed a baby in a stroller and one couple had a sign that read, “I was a teen in 73. I’m here today; we won’t go back. Vote no.”

Perez carried a pink flag, that she sometimes wore like a cape, with the words, “Pro Women, Pro Choice.”

Other signs said “Bans off our bodies,” “Trust Women,” and “The Handmaid’s Tale is a warning, not a guide,” referring to the novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. A sign with a portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg read “Vote NO Aug. 2nd; I Dissent,” and another sign read “My rights deserve more protection than your guns.” There were several signs that featured coat hangers, a symbol of the backstreet abortions women resorted to in the 20th century before Roe v. Wade and Casey guaranteed legal options.

Some of the chants targeted religious objections to abortion, including, “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries” and “2, 4, 6, 8 — Separate the church and state.”

About the Supreme Court ruling and the Kansas election

In its syllabus to last week’s Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Justice Samuel Alito delivered the opinion that states, “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”

Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973 and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern PA v. Casey was decided in 1992.

Kansas will be the first state in the nation to see a post-Roe abortion question on the ballot. On Aug. 2, voters will decide whether or not to amend the Kansas Constitution by removing the right to an abortion from the state constitution.