“This is not just a hashtag, this is real life:” pro-choice protest takes place at Indiana Statehouse


Da-Hyun Hong

RaeVen Ridgell, public policy intern for Planned Parenthood of Indiana, leads a protest at the Indiana Statehouse.

Da-Hyun Hong

On May 21, 2019 an hour-long protest against abortion-restriction laws took place at noon, organized by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Indiana’s Chapter of the Women’s March on Washington and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. This rally was one of many as a part of a national #StopTheBans day.

Numerous speakers took turns with the megaphone, including RaeVen Ridgell, public policy intern for Planned Parenthood of Indiana, Jane Henegar, executive director of ACLU of Indiana, pediatrician Dr. Tracey Wilkinson, and Dr. Caitlin Bernard, OB-GYN and abortion provider in Indiana. All of these women consistently emphasized abortion is safe and legal and should stay that way.

Wilkinson said she believes that truth lies in facts, not ideology.

“Banning abortion, does not stop abortion. It simply stops safe abortion,” Wilkinson said. “Abortion is comprehensive healthcare. When you restrict access to comprehensive healthcare, the rate of infant and maternal mortality go up. Hoosiers already have some of the highest rates in the country.”

Towards the end of the rally, women came up onto the stairs of the Indiana Statehouse to share their personal stories regarding abortion.

One of them was Symone Bailey, 18-year-old black student at Ivy Tech. She shed tears after sharing her story of how she almost could not afford her $600 abortion. As she spoke the words, “I don’t have a voice,” the crowd shouted back words of encouragement such as “we hear you,” “you do now,” and “we love you.”

The protest shared only one side of the abortion debate; no openly anti-abortion support occurred at the location.