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‘Breathless with rage’: Multiple generations voice outrage at Riverfront Park over abortion ban

July 13, 2022 Updated Wed., July 13, 2022 at 10:43 p.m.

Isabella Ross, 16, foreground, joins in with fellow protester Jackie Kamura, 17, during a women’s rights protest on Wednesday in Riverfront Park.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Isabella Ross, 16, foreground, joins in with fellow protester Jackie Kamura, 17, during a women’s rights protest on Wednesday in Riverfront Park. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

Chants of “My body, my choice,” and signs like “Abortion is healthcare,” could be heard and seen as a few hundred people lined Spokane Falls Boulevard on the edge of Riverfront Park on Wednesday pleading for women’s reproductive rights after the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion nearly three weeks ago.

Shannen Talbot stood alongside her mother and grandmother as cars cruised by. Some of the drivers honked in support of the women, men and children standing, chanting and holding signs between Wall and Stevens streets.

Talbot said she is angry that she has to fight just as her granddmother, Marianne Torres, did 50 years ago.

“I am breathless with rage that I have to look at my grandmother and tell her that what she fought for has been dismantled,” Talbot said.

Torres held a sign that said: “I protested in the 60’s.” Sarah Kuest, Talbot’s mother and Torres’ daughter, held a sign that read: “and in the 80’s.” Talbot’s sign concluded: “… and now it’s my turn.”

“Our generation, in our mid-70s, we never, ever thought we would see Roe v. Wade overturned,” Torres said.

Talbot celebrated her 29th birthday Wednesday.

“This is not how I wanted to spend my birthday, but it’s what has to be done,” she said.

The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the landmark 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade on June 24, declaring a constitutional right to abortion no longer existed.

The decision, which leaked in early May, means that abortion rights will be rolled back in nearly half of states immediately, with more restrictions likely to follow.

Joy Fradin, who accompanied Talbot, Kuest and Torres, said abortion was still illegal when she first started protesting decades ago.

“I expected that this would happen, but when it did actually happen, it was like a ton of bricks,” Fradin said.

“We remember coat hangers,” Fradin added. “When I was young, that’s all there was.”

Other signs Wednesday read, “If you’re against abortion, don’t have one,” and, “Keep abortion legal.” Chants, led by women on megaphones, included, “Legal abortions save lives,” and, “Abortion is our right, we won’t give up this fight.”

Chloe Palmer, 19, said she was “terrified” when she learned Roe v. Wade was overturned because she was worried what would come next.

She said she is concerned birth control will be banned and LGBTQ rights will be stripped away.

“It’s scary,” Palmer said.

Shelley Tucker, a former teacher of 30 years, also expressed concerns about the future.

“It’s scary that the overturning of Roe v. Wade will open so many other doors,” she said.

Tucker also questioned why men don’t share the criminal burden of abortion.

“A woman and a doctor can be prosecuted, but what about men?” Tucker asked. “They have a part in all unplanned pregnancies.”

Cindy Brigham-Althoff, a women’s health care provider, said it’s important to her that people have options when it comes to pregnancy.

“That’s where we get safety, good patient care and good outcomes,” she said.

The gathering was hosted by We Won’t Go Back’s “Summer of Rage.” Its website shows similar events scheduled across the country this summer.

Palmer said the large gathering illustrated how the community cares and is not going to let politicians control women’s bodies.

“It shows people that we do have a voice and we’re going to speak it,” she said.

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