Pro- and anti-abortion protests shut down Church Street in Lynchburg
LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Protests continue in our hometowns as reaction continues to ripple from the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down Roe v Wade. Monday evening, Church Street in downtown Lynchburg was flooded with signs, song, and shouting.
“I don’t believe they believe in the sanctity of life,” says pro-life protestor Daniel Abbott.
“It wasn’t about that; it was about control,” counters Lauren Elise Barnes, a protestor for pro-choice.
Hundreds gathered in front of Monument Terrace Monday night to have their voices heard. Both protests remained peaceful and law enforcement was present, securing a barrier between each protest.
“We should have the right to our own bodily autonomy,” expresses pro-choice protestor Kenda Sutton-El.
“I believe that murder is wrong under every circumstance,” adds Abbott.
Differing opinions were shared from each side on different topics surrounding abortion, including sexual responsibility to resources available to pregnant women.
“No, there’s not enough resources especially when you’re dealing with low-income women,” Sutton-El continues.
“We have resources. We have WIC, we have social workers, we have every kind of resource there is,” responds Virginia State Senator Mike Peake (R) of the 22nd District. “What we need is responsibility from parents to take control of their children, to raise their children, to assume that responsibility. Government should not be in the business of raising people’s children.”
Those who took to the street Monday arguing in favor of the Supreme Court ruling say women still do have a choice.
“If a woman doesn’t want to find herself in that position, then she still has the choice not to have sex or not to have unprotected sex where she is going to put herself in a position of being pregnant, of having to raise a child,” explains Katherine Decker, protesting on the pro-life side. “There is a level of responsibility on the woman of where she gets to choose in relation to her body is when it comes to having sex. Once she’s pregnant, there’s someone else’s body in her body. There’s another life. I head my son’s heartbeat at seven weeks old.”
While those opposing the decision say sexual education in Virginia doesn’t prepare people for the consequences of a post-Roe world.
“Comprehensive sexual education is not mandated in the commonwealth of Virginia. We have sexuality education that does happen in our schools, but it’s not mandated,” says Lauren Elise Barnes, professional sexuality educator in Lynchburg. “Parents can opt out of it. I think this ruling is very interesting because the fact that we would punish young people and adults for an action that we don’t care to educate on is unfathomable to me. The fact that we wouldn’t say ‘here is everything about your body and here are all the ways to prevent pregnancy’ and then to just punish individual for a choice that they made ignorantly, I want to see that change.”
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