Women’s rights rally illuminates a need for intersectionality in reproductive healthcare


Simple catch phrases and drawings took up most of the pink and white posters right outside of City Hall. Photo by Piper Hansen.

Piper Hansen

Following near total bans on abortion in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Utah, Missouri and Kentucky, Manual students Eva Kreitman (11, YPAS) and Andrew Meiners (11, J&C) organized the Rally for Women’s Rights in support of women’s rights and preserving organizations like Planned Parenthood.

The rally took place this afternoon in front of City Hall and featured speakers like Kentucky House District 35 Representative Lisa Willner, sexual assault survivor Oralynn Shelby and Louisville Male High School junior and Young Democrats founder Lexie Overstreet.

Video by Thomas Simmons.

Roughly 250 protestors held signs as speakers addressed reproductive healthcare, women’s rights and the precedent that anti-abortion legislation sets for the future of policymaking. They later joined the event’s organizers on a short walk around the block chanting phrases like “her body her choice.”

Manual students were the most prominent group among the crowd and their posters highlighted the fact that they were fed up with men making decisions about women’s bodies.

“These men [making and passing anti-abortion legislation] have been privileged enough to never have had to get an abortion. These men have never been scorned by fanatics as they enter a clinic,” Mateo Sollano (12, YPAS) said. “Once they’ve faced these things maybe they could begin to understand how patronizing this whole thing feels.”

And when it comes to overturning precedent and writing new abortion laws, students and young activists have choice words to say to those with power now.

“Our generation is going to be in political office soon, and we need to make sure lawmakers know that if they try to undermine Roe v. Wade, we’re just going to go back and undo their work,” Meiners said.

The speeches at the rally attempted to be inclusive but some attendees believe that people of color should be represented more in the general debate about abortion and reproductive healthcare.

“Any ban on abortion disproportionately affects poor women of color who already lack access to proper healthcare,” Moyo Olayemi (12, HSU) said. “They will maintain a cycle of poverty and incarceration that will inevitably ensue when the birth of a child is forced rather than wanted.”

But intersectionality for students goes even deeper than race.

“I wish the conversation on reproductive rights was focused on not just women but trans men and non-binary people who are capable of being pregnant as well,” Yeji Chung (12, YPAS) said.

Even though the protest had significant turnout, some students question their actions as a citizen in a Democratic city within a Republican state.

“I often find myself questioning if what I do can make a difference or if my voice is heard,” Connor Taylor (11, YPAS) said.

Other students, however, are set in their beliefs and think that every action, no matter the size, can make a difference in discourse, policymaking and implementation.

“It’s so important to be involved with politics right now. It’s never too early to care,” Overstreet said. “Rights and liberties are under attack; for women to people of color to the LGBTQ+ community, we all have something we need to rally for and protect.”