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‘It does not stop here’: Protesters in Superior decry SCOTUS ruling overturning Roe v. Wade

“We are lucky that we can go over to Minnesota,” Christina DeGraef, one of the Superior rally’s organizers, told the News Tribune. “But that’s not the point. The point is that every state should be a safe state.”

Group holding signs in Superior.
Organizer Brianna Frank, center left, stands among a crowd of abortion rights advocates at a rally outside the Government Center in Superior on Monday. At least 100 people showed up to protest the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion across the United States.
Joe Bowen / Duluth News Tribune
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SUPERIOR — Carrying signs that read “Not your incubator,” “Abortion is healthcare,” and “Someone you love will need an abortion someday,” more than 100 people on Monday, July 4, packed a rainy street corner in Superior to protest the U.S. Supreme Court decision last month that overturned Roe v. Wade, the court’s 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in the United States.

Abortion-rights protesters gather, march in Duluth

“It should be a no-brainer that people with uteruses are just that: people,” Brianna Frank, one of the demonstration’s two organizers, told the crowd gathered outside the Government Center. “And it sucks that we have to be out here in the cold to fight for this again.”

More than one rally-goer noted the ironic juxtaposition of the country’s Independence Day celebration with their push to retain abortion rights.

Abortion-rights protesters line First Street in Duluth

Many also worried about the fate of other legal protections. Fellow organizer Christina DeGraef noted that Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion claimed the court should revisit three other landmark civil rights cases that the justice feels rest on similar legal grounds to the now-toppled Roe. Those cases govern the rights of married couples to buy and use contraceptives, same-sex couples to engage in sexual activity, and same-sex couples to marry.

“This is not just about women,” DeGraef told the crowd in between honks of support from passing cars on Belknap Street. “It does not stop here, and that is the sad part. They will not stop here.”

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The court’s June 24 ruling on Roe did not make abortion illegal, but it did return the issue to individual states.

In Wisconsin, that presumably means returning to an 1849 abortion ban that had been pre-empted by Roe, but state officials filed suit last week, arguing that a 1985 law that governs lawful abortions invalidates the 1849 one.

‘This is not the finish line’: Duluth anti-abortion activists celebrate Roe v. Wade overturn

Abortion remains legal across the bridge in Minnesota , where the state’s supreme court ruled in 1995 that its constitution protects abortion rights. Workers at downtown Duluth’s WE Health Clinic, the Northland’s only abortion provider, previously told the News Tribune they’re gearing up for an influx of patients.

“We are lucky that we can go over to Minnesota,” DeGraef told the News Tribune Monday. “But that’s not the point. The point is that every state should be a safe state. Everyone should be safe, and that’s what we’re here for.”

Protesters with signs in Superior.
Organizer Christina DeGraef, foreground left, addresses a large crowd of abortion rights advocates at a rally outside the Government Center in Superior on Monday.
Joe Bowen / Duluth News Tribune

In Duluth, activists at the Native Lives Matter Coalition and Northwoods Socialist Collective planned a similar demonstration later that day at Bayfront Festival Park, which was set to host Duluth's annual Fourth Fest.

But the threat of Monday evening thunderstorms and lightning prompted organizers to push the celebration to Friday, July 8, and the Duluth abortion rights rally was similarly postponed. A handful of would-be ralliers briefly showed up to the virtually empty park before deciding to check out the Superior rally instead.

There were no counter-protesters at the Superior rally while the News Tribune was on site, nor were there any at Bayfront Festival Park.

Related Topics: DULUTHSUPERIORABORTION
Joe Bowen is an award-winning reporter at the Duluth News Tribune. He covers schools and education across the Northland.

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