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Pro-choice rally in Eugene draws big crowds in protest of SCOTUS decision

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Tiffany Eckert
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KLCC
Crowds for the hastily planned "decision day" reproductive rights rally in Eugene on Friday grew to an estimated 800 to 1,000 people over the duration of the event.

Hundreds rallied in front of the Federal Courthouse in Eugene Friday. They came to protest the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade. KLCC was there.

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Tiffany Eckert
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KLCC
Crowds grew and grew in Eugene as abortion rights advocates called on people to fight patriarchy, racisim, sexism, homophobia and keep protecting the basic right to privacy and bodily autonomy.

The honks of support at times drown out the chanting crowd. Many hoist signs with messages like “Keep your theology off my biology.”

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Tiffany Eckert
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KLCC
Women and men, teens and children attended the rally organized by Planned Parenthood. Some protesters wore pink Planned Parenthood apparel or homemade shirts with pro-choice messages.

54-year old Cheryl Ernst waves a coat hanger, a symbol of dangerous, pre-Roe abortions. She hopes the use of the metal hanger as a protest prop is not lost on anyone. We are going backward, she said.

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Tiffany Eckert
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KLCC
At the Planned Parenthood rally, Cherl Ernst and her daughter, Sinikka Edelen, carry coat hangers, a terrifying symbol of pre-Roe abortions that often resulted in death.

“We live in a society where now abortion is going to be illegal in a majority of the U.S," she said. "And we do not have universal health care, women are going to be forced to have children that they don’t necessarily want, we have an inadequate adoption system. This is not about abortion. This is about controlling women’s bodies and not giving women access to the health care that they need.”

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Tiffany Eckert
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KLCC
Congressional candidate Val Hoyle told the raucous crowd when she heard the news of the SCOTUS decision Friday morning, she felt "gut punched."

Congressional candidate Val Hoyle warned that the dissolution of privacy rights won’t stop here. She said, Justice Clarence Thomas made it clear “they are going to come after gay marriage and birth control” next.

In addition to the local politician, representatives from Planned Parenthood and community activists spoke out to an ever-growing crowd. Poet and activist Paris Woodward-Ganz read a poem which ended with, "hell hath no fury like a women scorned."

Woodward-Ganz was reportedly arrested several hours later while marching through the streets of downtown Eugene in a protest named "Night of Rage." EPD has confirmed "less lethal non-chemical munitions" called pepperballs were deployed to disperse a crowd of about 75 protesters heading toward a controversial pregnancy counseling/services business, Dove Medical Clinic, on East 11th Avenue.

At least ten protesters were arrested by EPD for disorderly conduct and/or resisting arrest. Sources say all were released by 2pm, Sunday.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.