March for Women’s Rights planned for Kewaunee to protest Roe v. Wade reversal
KEWAUNEE – A local organizer is putting together what she plans as a peaceful protest and march for July 31 on the heels of the recent reversal by the U.S. Supreme Court of Roe v. Wade that effectively ended federal abortion rights and made abortion illegal in Wisconsin.
The March for Women's Rights begins at 1 p.m. with a rally in Harbor Park that will include educational information on the subject and a speech by Dr. Gillian Battino, a radiologist from Wausau and one of three Democratic Party candidates for state treasurer in the Aug. 9 primary election. A second speaker from Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin also is expected.
The march itself will begin at 1:30 p.m. on a route to be determined once permission is given by the city police department. Those who can't march but want to show their support are encouraged to line the route.
Renee Paplham, the resident who's organizing the event, said it's important for those who are upset by the Supreme Court decision to have an avenue like this to express their displeasure, even in a small city like Kewaunee. She noted she attended a July 4 rally protesting the Roe v. Wade reversal in Sturgeon Bay that was attended by about 250 people, as was a similar rally the next day in Sister Bay, and she said people who feel the same in Kewaunee County are ready to make themselves heard.
"I was at the rally in Sturgeon Bay, and they were definitely ready (to protest)," Paplham said. "I see lots of support out there, I see the support growing, I see a lot of energized women who are upset, and I think it's the right time. … Hopefully it's just a lot of good energy and support for people to make their voices heard and seen in our little community."
Along with the speeches, the rally in the park will feature resource tables that will provide information on the issue, women's reproductive health and how people can support the cause. Those who didn't bring signs for the event can make fresh ones at another table in the park.
While Paplham is the main organizer, she said she's getting help from supporters who have provided her with key contacts and information about setting up an event like this. She also said everyone she's reached so far about the rally and march has seemed supportive.
Paplham noted that the Roe v. Wade decision, which took effect immediately upon being handed down, doesn't make the protests moot. The Supreme Court originally ruled on that case in 1973, deciding that abortion was a constitutional right across the country, but on June 24 the current court overruled that decision, essentially saying state governments would decide if it was legal within their boundaries.
With the federal right taken away and legality reverting to state laws, it appears abortion immediately became illegal in Wisconsin because of a law passed in 1849 that made it a felony to perform one under any circumstance, although state Attorney General Josh Kaul filed a lawsuit that claims a subsequent state law passed in 1985 overrules the total ban.
Because of that, Paplham said the main goals of the rally and march are to energize supporters, especially younger ones, to vote in this year's elections and realize the issue isn't totally dead. In a concurring opinion to the Supreme Court decision, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the reasoning behind it should allow the court to reconsider previous cases on national rights to contraceptive access, same-sex marriages and LGBTQ+ rights, all of which have been battlegrounds in various state legislatures.
"Hopefully we'll garner some new votes, motivate other young people to get active," she said. "I hope we educate people on what's happening in (Republican Party-led) states. It's so much more than just abortion; it's reproductive rights, it's birth control, it's women's rights."
For more on the event, visit fb.me/e/230fIGqfc.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
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This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: March for Women's Rights planned for Kewaunee to protest Roe v. Wade reversal