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'Women's bodies should not be a political opinion': Protesters voice concerns about overturning of Roe

A locally organized abortion rights rally was held Saturday in front of the city-county Government Center.

abortion rally
Isabel Dabrowski, 5, holds a sign with her mother Carly (right) while her father Taylor (left) looks on at the Olmsted County Government Center on the corner of 4th Street and 3rd Avenue on Saturday, June 25, 2022.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — After the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24, 2022, thousands across the country mobilized in protest.

In Rochester, people gathered in front of the Government Center on Saturday, June 25, to protest the decision and to share frustrations over the loss of rights, the possible future facing millions if the court strikes down other landmark cases and the possibility of access to abortion in Minnesota changing after this year’s elections.

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Rebel Rose Knudson organized the protest.

“When I heard about the verdict, I got so angry, I was in tears for a couple hours. I had a little girl in December and every time I looked at her, I was just crying again,” she said. “I’m doing it because I want my daughter to have the rights that I had.

“I want everybody's daughters, I want everybody to have the rights to their bodies. Government doesn't have a right to tell people what to do with their bodies. And religion doesn't have any right either.”

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Abortion Rights Rally
Abortion rights rally organizer Rebel Rose Knudson holds a sign on front of the Olmsted County Government Center on the corner of 4th street and 3rd avenue on Saturday, June 25, 2022.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bulletin

Most other protesters shared Knudson’s anger, shock and frustration.

“It was just a lot of shock,” Allie Arnold said. “I didn't know this could happen in 2022.”

“I was just filled with anger,” Megan Zelenka said. “I really just wasn't expecting it.”

Abortion Rights Rally
Allie Arnold and Megan Zelenka hold their signs at an abortion rights rally in front of the Olmsted County Government Center on the corner of 4th street and 3rd avenue on Saturday, June 25, 2022.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bulletin

Minnesotans still have access to abortion in the state. However, that would be up in the air depending on the November elections.

“(Republicans) did so much damage the last time, from 2016, all the way to now. They've done nothing but damage. They've brought us back 50 years in progress,” Knudson said. “I can only imagine that getting worse.”

“We have to keep those crazies at bay,” added Jan Hagedorn. “I am so sad about this, and physically upset. I know a number of people's lives that would have been destroyed without Roe.”

Abortion Rights Rally
Premade signs available for attendees of the abortion rights rally in front of the Olmsted County Government Center on the corner of 4th street and 3rd avenue on Saturday, June 25, 2022.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bulletin

Aleta Borrud, a candidate for state senate, said that gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen “has made it very clear they will they will pass further restrictions on abortion access.”

Currently, there are a number of restrictions in place in Minnesota, like wait lists, but Borrud said Republicans like Jensen have made it clear that more restrictions are possible. Another possibility is Republican lawmakers placing a question on the ballot to change the state constitution to eliminate abortion protections.

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In Minnesota, women are still afforded access to abortions. But that doesn’t mean women in Rochester, and across the state, are staying complacent, as evidenced by the peaceful protest Saturday.

Abortion Rights Rally
Emma Nollenberger (right) holds a sign in protests of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade at a rally in front of the Olmsted County Government Center on the corner of 4th street and 3rd avenue on Saturday, June 25, 2022.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bulletin
Abortion Rights Rally
Julie Larson-Keller talks to other attendees of the abortion rights rally, inspecting their signs, in front of the Olmsted County Government Center on the corner of 4th street and 3rd avenue on Saturday, June 25, 2022.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bulletin
Abortion Rights Rally
Attendees of the abortion rights rally made signs in front of the Olmsted County Government Center on the corner of 4th street and 3rd avenue on Saturday, June 25, 2022.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bulletin

Abby Sharpe joined the Post Bulletin in February 2022 after graduating from Arizona State University with a sports journalism degree. While at ASU, she created short- and long-form stories for audio and digital. Readers can reach Abby at 507-285-7723 or asharpe@postbulletin.com.
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