Protesters gather in downtown Denver to denounce ‘oppression’ after Roe overturned

Members of crowd of about 3,000 decry Supreme Court ruling as mark of fascism

By: - June 25, 2022 7:50 am

A lead organizer for the Denver branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Eliza, speaks to a crowd of almost 3,000 protesters at the Colorado Capitol in downtown Denver on June 24, 2022. Protesters had gathered in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned the Roe v. Wade decision, which had guaranteed abortion rights. (Andrew Fraieli for Colorado Newsline)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the almost 50-year standing of the constitutional right to get an abortion. The ruling is expected to lead to almost total bans in nearly half of states. On Friday evening, people flocked to the Colorado Capitol in downtown Denver to protest.

“It’s our time to try again, for justice. I can’t believe we’re back in this place — the oppression of women and minorities — it’s time to get off the couch and get to the streets,” said one protester, Donna Horizon.

The Denver branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation called for protesters to head to the Colorado Capitol at 5:30 p.m. through social media, as did many other organizations, such as The League of Women Voters of Colorado.

A lead organizer for PSL, identifying herself only as Eliza, spoke to the crowd from a pickup truck parked in front of the Capitol steps, telling everyone to resist as a group rather than apart.

“This was a decision made by a few people, affecting millions,” another representative for PSL, Sarah, who wished only to give her first name, told Colorado Newsline afterwards. “This is a class issue, a race issue, it affects locals — this intersects with all that we stand for.”

Soon after, protesters swarmed the street in front of the Capitol, forcing police to redirect cars, and by 6 p.m., The League of Women Voters of Colorado marched to the steps of the Capitol from the direction of the lawn, almost doubling the crowd to around 3,000.

“F*** SCOTUS. F*** Christian white nationalism. And f*** the patriarchy,” said another member of PSL to the crowd. “The monstrosity of the fascist right is on full display now.”

Around 6:30 p.m., the crowd marched toward the 16th Street Mall, flooding the street side-to-side, before stopping on Stout Street by the federal courthouse to speak again, chanting, “Pro-life, that’s a lie, they don’t care if people die,” and “We won’t go back.” They then headed down North Broadway, and around to the Capitol steps, where hundreds more protesters had gathered.

“I’m pissed. Pissed at this fascist police state that we’re slowly falling into, and I’m pissed that people can’t get abortions anymore, it’s not guaranteed,” said another protester who wished to remain anonymous.

‘Momentous mistake’

Colorado lawmakers codified the right to abortion in April, with the law specifically stating that embryos, fertilized eggs and fetuses don’t have “independent or derivative rights.” Because of this, the Roe decision does not directly affect access to abortion in the state, but Colorado could become an island of medical care for a swath of the midwest.

“Half of our patients, 50% — I looked it up this morning — 50% drive in from another state. They came from Texas, they came from Oklahoma, they’re coming from Idaho,” said Adrienne Mansanares, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, at a protest for abortion rights on May 14 at the Colorado Capitol.

“Do you think you’re tired? You don’t know tired until you see a woman walk in with her two sleepy kids driving a 1,000 miles to get to her health care. That’s exhaustion.” she continued.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a statement that overturning Roe is “a momentous mistake on multiple levels,” adding that the “Supreme Court has undermined public confidence in the rule of law.”

Secretary of State Jena Griswold spoke similarly in a statement, saying the ruling was “part of a broader assault on our fundamental rights, including our right to vote, to privacy, and to love freely.”

Colorado GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown spoke differently on Twitter, saying, “Today is the most beautiful day,” also calling it a “historic day for civil rights.”

Another protester at the Capitol, Marney Caiced, held a sign that said, “I’m not your Handmaid,” and said the idea of a handmaid from “The Handmaid’s Tale” perfectly reflects the situation, “and I relate to it.”

Another pro-abortion rights protest is planned for 6 p.m. Monday at the Colorado Capitol.

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Andrew Fraieli
Andrew Fraieli

Andrew Fraieli is a freelance journalist and editor-in-chief of the Homeless Voice, covering housing and homelessness, and other systemic social issues.