“Two, four, six, eight. Separate the church and state.”
“I’m a person, not a womb.”
“My body, my choice.”
Hundreds chanted along to a drumbeat at 3 p.m. Monday outside the Monroe County Courthouse during a protest in support of access to abortion. The protest was organized by the Indianapolis chapter of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and was promoted on social media by local activist groups, including IU Students Against Reproductive Restraints and the Monroe County National Organization for Women.
This is PSL’s first protest in Bloomington since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade’s precedent. The organization has held multiple protests in Indianapolis since the decision was released on Friday.
Speakers at Monday’s protest criticized the Democratic party and President Biden’s response to the decision, calling out inequality in access to abortion alternatives and emphasized the importance of both abortion access and the role of the federal government in supporting abortion rights.
“Biden is putting out statements saying that most women in this country are going to be fine after this decision. Most women, because they live in blue states,” one speaker said. “That’s none of us here.”
Drivers routinely honked in support of protestors standing along the edge of the courthouse square. Alternatively, some drivers visibly disagreed with the crowd’s message as they shouted out their windows or raised their middle fingers. One white truck circled the block several times as its occupants shouted “abortion is murder” through a speaker.
Protestor Julie Finn attended the protest with her daughter, Sydney Shoemaker. Finn said that she wanted Shoemaker to have the same rights she did when she was younger.
“I actually love being here and seeing the solidarity of all the other people here on the courthouse,” Finn said. “And I like seeing pro-lifers waste gas. Gas is so expensive right now — that’s a choice.”
After around 30 minutes at the courthouse, protestors marched down College Avenue toward the Women’s Care Center, a crisis pregnancy center that PSL claims is set up to dissuade people from having abortions. Protest leaders passed out flyers that said this type of center is set up next to abortion clinics like Planned Parenthood to confuse people seeking abortions.
PSL also claimed the center is not licensed as a medical provider and therefore are not bound by HIPAA, meaning they don’t have to maintain confidentiality.
Alessandro Morosin played a snare drum to back chants throughout the march. He said he believes abortion-rights organizations need to get more people out, on both a local and state level.
“I think we need to become ungovernable,” Morosin said, “because it’s not just Roe v. Wade that they’re coming for. They’re coming for so many human rights, voting rights.”
Protestos ranging from grandparents waving signs to children held by their parents surrounded the center. IU student and protest leader Luke Kubehl climbed onto a post outside the center and raised his voice above the chants of the crowd.
“Do you know what this place is?” Kubehl asked. A voice rose from the crowd in response: “A fucking fraud!”
Kubehl said that PSL plans to return to the center and pass out flyers throughout the summer. He announced the protest plan — to surround the Women’s Care Center until the employees got off work at 4:30 p.m. — then passed the floor to anyone that wanted to share a message or a personal story.
Protestors shared their reasons for supporting access to abortion. One woman said she had gotten an abortion to better care for her then-two-year-old. That same child, now in her early teens, held up a neon-green sign reading “Hands off my rights.”
Protestors blocked off the parking lot and surrounded the front and back doors, raising picket signs and chanting together.
At 4:30, when protest leaders said Women’s Care Center employees would get off work and leave the building, private security officers pulled up to the back of the center. Police soon arrived.
Kubehl and other protest leaders redirected the crowd to march back to the courthouse and promised they’d be back the next day. They announced a reading group at 6 p.m. at the Monroe County Public Library.
People began to leave the square, but many stayed behind, lined up along the side of the road. Between honks and jeers from the street, they chanted one line, over and over.
“We won’t go back. We won’t go back.”