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Roe v. Wade decision unites protesters for abortion-rights rally

Hundreds of protestors hold signs as they march Saturday in downtown Columbia. Many of the protestors chanted while walking back toward the Boone County Courthouse.
Kailan Dixon
Protestors hold signs as they march Saturday on Broadway in downtown Columbia. Many of the protestors chanted while walking back toward Boone County Courthouse

Roughly 300 demonstrators braved hot, humid conditions Saturday for an abortion-rights rally, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade on Friday.

Groups of demonstrators and families gathered under trees around 5 p.m. at the Boone County Courthouse and its adjacent amphitheater, fanning themselves and wiping their brows in 96-degree heat. Other protesters sat on concrete benches, holding hand-painted signs with slogans such as “It’s Time to Ovary-Act” and “A Woman’s Place Is In The Resistance.”

Sophia Eaton was on her way into the rally and held a sign that made reference to coat hanger abortions. Eaton said regardless of regulations, abortions will continue to happen.

“It’s better to have it legal and safe than illegal and unsafe,” Eaton said about abortions.

Saturday’s event was organized Friday morning by local activist Melissa Cameron and a number of mid-Missouri abortion-rights advocacy organizations. The protest followed informal demonstrations in Columbia and Jefferson City that supported and condemned the high court’s decision Friday. The Social Room, a local bar and grill, and individual donors provided free pizza and bottles of water for the audience.

Cameron served as the MC and opening speaker of the event. She shared the story of her own abortion in Illinois two years ago, which she was able to access with financial help from the Midwest Access Coalition.

“I was not ready to be a mom,” she said. “It was my privilege to get in a vehicle and drive a state away to get medical care.” She encouraged demonstrators to remain peaceful and hydrated and to obey trained peacekeepers wearing pink armbands during the march.

For more images and stories from the protest, read the rest of this article on the Columbia Missourian website.