KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — On Saturday a large group gathered in downtown Knoxville to show their support for Roe v. Wade, a landmark Supreme Court decision in 1973 that guaranteed the constitutional right to abortion treatment access across the U.S.
It was called the Bans Off Our Bodies rally and was organized in cities across the U.S. including Knoxville. It was a response to a drafted opinion from the Supreme Court in Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization that would effectively overturn Roe v. Wade.
By overturning the decision, the Supreme Court would activate trigger laws in many states including Tennessee. They would effectively ban abortion treatments, preventing women from getting treatment in all but the most extreme cases.
The Roe v. Wade ruling also paved the way for other rights in the U.S. to be enshrined through the Supreme Court, including the right to same-sex marriage and interracial marriage. By overturning the Roe v. Wade decision, experts warned other rights could be restricted later including abortion access.
The rally was meant to show support for the decision. It was also meant to highlight that Black, Latina, Indigenous, AAPI and other people of color still faced challenges receiving abortion treatments with the Roe v. Wade ruling, as well as people with low incomes.
The Bans Off Our Bodies Knoxville rally was organized by the Women's March Coalition of East Tennessee. They said they were working with healthcare providers and advocacy groups to bring people out. It started at Krutch Park at 11 a.m.
People attended the rally with some signs that said "Not an Incubator For the 'Domestic Supply of Infants'" and "No, you can't take my rights. I'm still using them."
The Knoxville Police Department said they arrested a 65-year-old for blocking traffic on Gay Street after she refused to leave the road after officers asked her to do so.
Organizers said there were also events in Texas, Florida, Missouri and Arizona. There were also events in Chattanooga, Nashville and Memphis to support the Roe v. Wade decision.