The community of Sioux Falls prepares for a protest against abortion rights

Nearly 100 people gathered in McKennan Park on a sunny Saturday afternoon to set signs in preparation for Sunday’s anti-abortion protest in Sioux Falls, two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court led Roe to an immediate abortion ban in South Dakota would have.

The event was organized by a small group of South Dakota State University students, including Althena Bjorback, 23, from a Snapchat group.

She told the Argus Leader that events like these strengthen and build communities and give people hope to stand in solidarity with those who are no longer able to have an abortion.

More:South Dakota Rep. Erin Healy meets with Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss abortion restrictions

Sidewalks adorned with “Roe the Boat”, “My Body, My Choice”

Kaylee Milbrandt, 27, mother of two sons, traveled from Mitchell to come to McKennan Park for the poster making.  Photo was taken on Saturday July 9th, 2022.

The sidewalks in McKennan Park were adorned with chalk sayings like “Roe the Boat.” The participants sat on the grass and made other signs that read, “Reproductive rights are human rights.”

Police also escorted a man holding a black sign with a white cross outside the park halfway through the three-hour event, who some said had attended previous anti-abortion rights protests and events.

More men need to show up for women, says Aberdeen resident

48-year-old Shelby Roberts sits in her chair with a word table under her arm.  She told the Argus leader, pointing to words and phrases:

The event was attended by people from all walks of life: grandmothers with their daughters and granddaughters, fathers with their brothers, and women of all ages with their own connections to abortion.

Tony Newman, 28, drove from Aberdeen to show support and thought of his girlfriends who are worried they are being stripped of their rights, he said.

“If more men are present at these events, it will show that everyone is affected,” he said.

Isabella Purzol, 18, has traveled from Yankton and is thinking about sister.

“My sister has polycystic ovary syndrome and medical complications,” Purzol said. “When they get pregnant, with everything that’s going on, they don’t know what might happen or where to go with their risk factors.”

More:SCOTUS’ abortion decision sparks a rally outside the US Courthouse in Sioux Falls

Others, like 82-year-old Kansas native Sara Post, fear voting rights may be next. She remembers her first Women’s March in New York in 1958, a time “when women had no rights”.

Post brought her 50-year-old daughter and her two granddaughters, both 11 and 14 years old.

“My age didn’t have access, Jenny’s age had and now these girls don’t have access,” she said, gesturing to her two-year-old granddaughters. “I’m scared of what’s coming next.”

Attendees plan to meet tomorrow at noon outside the courthouse for the ACLU of South Dakota and Planned Parenthood’s protest of the Roe verdict.

Email human rights reporter Nicole Ki at [email protected] or follow on twitter below @_nicoleki.

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