Hundreds rally in favor of abortion rights in downtown Madison for second time since Roe draft leaked

MADISON, Wis. – For the second time in a week people in Madison are taking action to stand up for abortion rights with hundreds of people gathering on the Capitol Square Saturday afternoon to show their support.

On Monday night a draft of a Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade and make abortion in Wisconsin illegal, should the justices follow through with the opinion, was leaked.

Members of the Socialist Feminist Collective organized Saturday’s rally to give people a space to process the news and bring like-minded people together, hoping to turn their collective outrage into action.

“I have a son and I am pregnant with my second kid. I’ve had three miscarriages and I’ve had an abortion,” shared the group’s Co-chair Kate Diamond. “It’s terrifying to envision any of that without having control over my body.”

At the event, speakers took turns sharing their experience with abortion and their perspectives on the potential decision.

“It just humanizes the reality that so many people in this country do have abortions,” Diamond said. “We are moms in your neighborhood, we are classmates at your school, we are people in your community.”

For many, the leaked draft signaled how fragile they consider their fundamental rights to be but for others, the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade is cause for celebration.

Among the hundreds fighting for abortion rights, Saturday was a much smaller group, less than a dozen UW students, who attended the rally to show their support for the pro-life movement.

“From a legal perspective, I’m very happy. I believe that it is in the rights of the states, and I believe that abortion is fundamentally murder,” said pro-life advocate Lane Whitten. “We just want to stand up for truth. What we believe is right. What we know is right.”

As the Rally drew to an end, dozens of pro-choice supporters, like Isaiah Elmhorst, sought to block the pro-life advocates and their signage by standing in front of them with their own pro-choice signs, until the group of students eventually left.

“They’re allowed to have their view but I do think it’s wrong,” Elmhorst said. “There are a lot of women who can’t afford having a child or [are] in a bad situation–having a child is one of the worst things that could happen especially if you don’t want one.”

Still even as Elmhorst takes issue with a pro-life stance he’s not convinced the majority voice supporting abortion will be enough to make a difference and keep Roe v. Wade intact.

“In America, I don’t think you’d get the activism that would actually make the decision change,” he explained. “A lot of people are dependent on their jobs, so like a real protest would be people not showing up to work, and people not participating in the economy.”

He said he doesn’t believe the Supreme Court or the majority of government officials care enough about the average American’s point of view.

It’s a sentiment Diamond agrees with; she said she’s not relying on the Supreme Court, Congress, or even Democrats to “do what they need to.”

Where she disagrees with Elmhorst is in her faith in community action, believing rallies like Saturdays have the ability to get people energized and recognize the power of the collective to bring about mass movements.

An official ruling from the Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade is expected sometime this summer.

Earlier this year, A Marquette Law School poll showed that 72 percent of Americans oppose overturning the 1973 landmark decision.