Pro-choice protesters rallied at the Freedom For All protest in the Peace and Justice Plaza in downtown Chapel Hill on Aug. 26 — Women’s Equality Day. Pro-life counter-protesters were also in attendance.
Speakers at the protest included Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils, Chapel Hill Mayor Pro Tempore Karen Stegman and UNC junior and Undergraduate Senator Pallavi Maladkar. Chapel Hill and Carrboro residents, along with students from UNC, Duke and Campbell University, attended the protest.
Representatives from the North Carolina National Organization for Women and NextGen America shared information and registered people to vote.
“On June 24, half of America's population woke up to a reality in which we no longer have a constitutional right to our own bodies,” Maladkar said.
Rally attendee Samantha Batley said that the overturning of Roe made her sick.
“We fought really hard to get it in the first place and it just seems like it was overturned overnight and everybody told us don’t worry about it, it will never happen,” Batley said. “You’re screaming wolf. And here we are. It happened.”
Batley said she is worried that other rights might be taken away if abortion rights were – even her right to be in an interracial marriage.
During his speech at the protest, Seils also discussed other rights he is afraid are at stake after Roe was overturned, including the rights to contraceptives and marriage equality.
“The folks who are fighting for more restrictions on abortion access in North Carolina are not going to stop there and so we need to be watching every step of the way, and fighting it every step of the way,” Seils said.