On the evening before the effective date of SB1, Indiana’s new law that prohibits most abortions, around a hundred people gathered on the southeast lawn of the Monroe County courthouse in an event that was billed as a vigil to mark the occasion.
Attending Wednesday evening’s event (Sept. 14) and addressing the crowd were county and city officials as well as leaders of nonprofit groups.
Julie Hardesty, membership director for NOW (National Organization of Women) told the crowd, “Our bodies—no matter what they can grow inside of them—are our bodies. Our decisions are also just that—our decisions.”
She added, “Make no mistake, this abortion ban is racist. It will disproportionately impact pregnant Hoosiers of color.”
Later, vice president of the Monroe County NAACP Maqubè Reese read aloud a resolution approved by her organization that includes as a resolved clause, “NAACP calls upon the Congress of the United States to protect the reproductive rights of women and persons with uteruses by codifying the right-to-privacy and due process protections in Roe v Wade.”
Semhar Araya, vice president of the Indiana University chapter of the NAACP, told the crowd that being a first-generation Eritrean American hasn’t always been easy. Araya described the “American dream” as a kind of fantasy over the years. She described America as “ the land of the free—but not so free to the people of color, and especially not women.”
Araya added, “What I learned about this American dream, like any other dream, you have to fight to make it into a reality.”
State senator Shelli Yoder, told the gathering that it was an occasion to mourn two futures. “The first future we mourn is the one that begins tomorrow—a future in which people who can get pregnant in Indiana are less free to live their lives than we were before.”
The second future to be mourned Yoder said, is “the future we wanted for ourselves, for our children, for our spouses, for our families, for our friends—a future in which all of us are human unconditionally, and allowed to live life, with choice, and freedom—a life filled with joy, and intimacy, and yes, mistakes.”
The event was organized by Hoosier Jews for Choice and Monroe County NOW (National Organization of Women), and co-sponsored by NAPAWF-IN (National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum), All Options Pregnancy Resource Center, Monroe County’s women’s commission, city of Bloomington’s mayor’s office, Enough is Enough, an B-town Repro Rights, among others.