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Latino and immigrant communities express concern over reversal of Roe v. Wade

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.

The annual Cambios de Colores conference in St. Louis was just starting its final day of sessions Friday when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade – which protected abortion access. The activities of the day paused for reflection on the impact of the ruling.

The multi-state conference focuses on the integration and representation of Latino and immigrant communities in the Midwest.

After a panel presentation, most attendees pulled out their phones to see the news in silence. Some speakers expressed their concern about the decision, especially for people of color.

Alejandra Gudiño, one of the founding members of the conference, stood up to speak to the conference attendees. She said Black and brown people are directly affected by abortion bans as are people in the trans community.

"It takes away our ability to make decisions," Gudiño said. “I just hope that the men in this room become tremendous allies of the women. Many of us are feeling a sense of helplessness right now.”

Gudiño urged everyone to create networks of support for anyone seeking healthcare.

Eduardo Medina of MU also came to the conference from Columbia. He said it’s a sad time for the country and agreed with Gudiño, saying every person has the right to choose. He switched from Spanish to English as he spoke.

“I just want to express my solidarity with all of the women here, and all of the women in this country. And hopefully, we continue the pressure and take it back," he said.

Missouri was the first state to implement a so-called trigger law – which bans most abortions and does not have an exception for cases of rape or incest.

The decision has led to protests across the country, including Columbia, against the ban.

Kassidy Arena is the Engagement Producer for KBIA. In her role, she reports and produces stories highlighting underrepresented communities, focuses on community outreach and promoting media literacy. She was born in Berkeley, California, raised in Omaha, Nebraska and graduated with a degree in Journalism at the University of Missouri, Columbia.
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