Hundreds of protesters of all ages gathered at Spiotta Park in South Orange Friday evening to protest the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health that overturned Roe v. Wade.
The protesters — some carrying signs emblazoned with coat hangers and statements like “Bans Off our Bodies” — listened to speeches by local politicians and activists, and chanted in support of reproductive rights.
Speakers included Marcia Bloomberg of SOMA Action; South Orange Village President Sheena Collum; Rabbi Alexandra Klein of Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel in South Orange; Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, who spoke over the phone from Washington, D.C., where she had remained in order to cast a vote; Assemblywoman Mila Jasey; Ras Baraka, the mayor of Newark; Amol Sinha, executive director of the ACLU of New Jersey; representatives from SEIU New Jersey and Planned Parenthood Metropolitan NJ; and local teenage activists including rising Columbia High School senior Charlotte McCourt, who encouraged the crowd to “get angry.”
The rally was organized by SOMA Action, THRIVE NJ and Planned Parenthood NJ, among other organizations.
“The SOMA Action community is heartbroken and furious about today’s SCOTUS decision. We are here tonight to express our outrage,” said Jami Thall, a SOMA Action reproductive justice chair, who said the group had been planning the rally for a few weeks but sprang into action when the decision came down Friday morning.
“Tomorrow we get to work to fight for access to abortion care for all here in NJ and the rest of the country,” said Thall. “Our hope is that once people gather to express their outrage tonight they will get to work next week contacting our legislators, specifically the leaders of the NJ Senate & Assembly, to demand that they pass legislation to increase abortion access here in NJ.”