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Residents protest against states’ abortion restrictions

Renee Gross, KBBI News

Roughly eighty people protested Saturday against a number of newly-passed laws around the U.S. severely restricting access to abortion procedures. Residents gathered for the “My Body, My Choice” rally shortly after similar protests occurred across the nation last week.  

Donna Beran addressed a crowd at Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith and Love Park along Pioneer Avenue. She’s telling the audience about her pregnancy at age 15 and her access to abortion services.

“It only happened because I grew up with privilege,” she said. “My parents had connections and that choice was afforded to me.”

But she says everyone deserves to have the same option she had.

“This is the most important personal freedom that I can think of is our bodies and what we choose to say yes and no to about them,” she said.

Beran and others were protesting legislation passed in a handful of states that would restrict or even eliminate abortion rights. Protestors at WKFL park held signs with slogans like, “It’s my body,” “Hear our voice” and “I will not go quietly back to 1950.”

Some protesters, such as Dali Frazier say it’s far from the first time they’ve shown up for to fight for abortion rights.

“We have fought this over and over again,” she said. “And how do I feel today? Just frustrated. I feel disenfranchised.”

She’s worried about the direction that she sees reproductive rights heading.

“I’m concerned, I’m worried [for the] future for my granddaughters and the world,” she said. “I mean in general, in America, it looks pretty bleak and I just feel like I need to make a stand and I need to become more aggressive about our rights.”

Others expressed concern about a recently introduced bill in Alaska’s House. Eagle River Republican Sharon Jackson and David Eastman, a republican from Wasilla, sponsored the legislation, which would effectively outlaw abortion in Alaska.

Xochitl Lopez-Ayala addressed the crowd about the bill.

“I don't know why David and Sharon feel like they're trying to control my body and my choice and your body and your choices,” she said. “So we need to be conscious of who we elect.”

Lopez-Ayala and others also said that having a choice is about more than abortion and there are other social issues that need to be addressed in the U.S., such as sex education and access to birth control.

She added that politicians like Homer Rep. Sarah Vance and Sen. Gary Stevens were invited to the protest, but did not attend.

Renee joined KBBI in 2017 as a general assignment reporter and host. Her work has appeared on such shows as Weekend Edition Saturday, The World, Marketplace and Studio 360. Renee previously interned as a reporter for KPCC in Los Angeles and as a producer for Stateside at Michigan Radio. Her work has earned her numerous press club awards. She holds an M.S. in journalism from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in women's studies from the University of Michigan.