Organizers with Planned Parenthood are holding four rallies in Alaska on Saturday to advocate for abortion access in the state.
The rallies scheduled for Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and Homer come after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade last month, ruling that there is no constitutional right to an abortion.
Rose O’Hara-Jolley, state director with Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates Alaska, says the rallies were planned in advance of the ruling.
“It wasn’t even planned because of the leaked draft,” O’Hara-Jolley said. “We figured, since the court decided to hear a case around abortion access, that it would be releasing a decision that was different than one that had been previously decided.”
The Planned Parenthood events will also coincide with a political rally held by former President Donald Trump in Anchorage. Trump appointed three of the six justices who overturned Roe.
O’Hara-Jolley says that timing also wasn’t planned. Across the country, the Roe decision has spurred marches and rallies for abortion rights.
The Planned Parenthood rallies in Alaska will include musicians, speakers and art exhibits, including a drag show in Juneau, said O’Hara Jolley.
“And then in Anchorage, we will have ‘smash the plate-riarchy,’ where people can bring a plate, write what you need to get your catharsis out on the plate, and then safely smash it,” O’Hara-Jolley said. “And then we’re going to turn those pieces into mosaic.”
While Alaska has a strong right to privacy in its constitution and the ability to get a safe and legal abortion continues after the recent Supreme Court decision, O’Hara-Jolley says they are hoping the rally can highlight disparities in the state.
“There’s always been barriers such as people living off the road system or those in domestic violence situations, people in need of transportation or child care,” O’Hara-Jolley said. “So we’re really hoping that people come together and will continue our work from before, which is expanding abortion access to make sure everyone has the same access to health care.”
The Anchorage rally will be held at the Delaney Park Strip from 1 to 4 p.m. The Juneau rally will be at the Marine Park from 1 to 2 p.m. The Fairbanks rally will be at the Tanana Valley fairgrounds from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Homer rally will start at 11:45 a.m. at the Homer Education and Recreation Complex and include a march to WKFL Park, wrapping up at 2:30 p.m.