Photos: Stephanie McGeary

A crowd of roughly 100 people gathered in front of the Humboldt County Courthouse this afternoon for Planned Parenthood’s Roe the Vote rally, to honor the 49th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade and to protest the attacks on reproductive rights that have been occurring across the country.

“On this day in 1973, the Supreme Court decided ‘we recognize the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwanted governmental intrusion and to matters so fundamentally affecting a person as to bear or beget a child,’” Marisa Formosa, public affairs officer for the Planned Parenthood Northern California Action Fund said to the crowd. “That right necessarily includes the right of a woman to decide whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”

Formosa went on to say that today, nearly 50 years later, that right has been under attack, with many states across the country restricting access to abortion, making it difficult for many to find ways to safely and legally terminate a pregnancy.

Reverend Anne Pierson of Clergy for Choice

Met with cheers from the crowd and honks of support from passing vehicles, many others took turns speaking during the rally, including several members of Clergy for Choice – a multi-faith collection of religious leaders who stand with organizations like Planned Parenthood in support of people’s reproductive rights.

“We at Clergy of Choice, along with many in the faith community, support a person’s right to receive the complete range of reproductive care throughout their lives,” Reverend Anne Pierson of the Christ Episcopol Church in Eureka said to the crowd. “We trust that God is with us all, no matter what our life circumstances or the results of decisions made.”

Several elected officials were in attendance, including Kim Bergel, Eureka City Councilmember and Board of Supervisors candidate, Third District Supervisor Mike Wilson and Fifth District Supervisor Steve Madrone. Wilson and Madrone both spoke during the rally, voicing their support for Planned Parenthood and abortion rights and emphasizing the importance of voting and holding our elected officials accountable.

Third District Supervisor Mike Wilson

“What happens in other states matters to us,” Wilson said during the rally. “That pressure is coming on us and we’re going to have to fight – both locally and statewide – for expanding and ensuring these rights.”

Following Wilson, Madrone took to the mic, echoing the importance of ensuring that abortion rights are maintained for our citizens. Madrone also emphasized the importance of men taking responsibility for family planning, proudly stating that he has a vasectomy.

“We have a responsibility as men as well,” Madrone said. “It’s not all on the women. But we’ve got to be able to protect the rights that we’ve all worked so hard for for women and for our families and our communities. So thank you for being here today.”

Closing out the speeches for the day was local business owner Sue McIntyre, who reminded people of the importance of sharing their own stories, supporting the organizations that help provide safe access to abortion and sexual health and the importance of voting to help keep abortion legal.

“Who you vote for matters,” McIntyre said. “Every vote counts. It does. Elect people who you know share our values, who support access to abortion, who know the importance of abortion as basic healthcare. And don’t stigmatize and talk about it negatively.”

Scroll down for more pictures of today’s event.

Sue McIntyre

Fifth District Supervisor Steve Madrone

Deborah Hubbard of Clergy for Choice

Rabbi Naomi Steinberg

Jeri Gray-Reneberg

Councilmember Kim Bergel films the speeches