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Abortion-rights backers protest Roe ruling in Las Vegas

Updated June 24, 2022 - 8:22 pm

Annette Magnus was driving home from the gym Friday when a fellow member of Battle Born Progress called to tell her that the U.S. Supreme Court had rolled back abortion protections by overturning Roe v. Wade.

She hung up the phone and started crying.

Magnus is the executive director of Battle Born Progress, a progressive advocacy group, which helped organize a protest Friday night in downtown Las Vegas in response to the decision.

“Today I’ve oscillated between rage and crying,” Magnus said.

A draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade leaked last month and also led to protests in Las Vegas and across the country.

“Somehow it still doesn’t quite prepare you to see those words written out that women are not seen as equal under the law in this country and somehow I am a subhuman person according to the Supreme Court of the United States,” Magnus said. “Women of color and indigenous women have always experienced this, but now all of us are experiencing it and our LGBTQI sisters are probably next.”

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse, 333 Las Vegas Blvd. South, holding signs and chanting at passing cars. Speakers included Magnus and representatives the Wild West Access Fund of Nevada and the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada.

Signs read “My body, my choice, my right” and “We are not things.”

Magnus closed out the protest, and a deafening chant of “We will not go back!” rang out.

Las Vegas resident Tania Gomez joined in the chant.

“It was a mix of emotions,” Gomez said about the ruling. “It was sadness, frustration and a lot of anger. … It makes you want to do something.”

Nadia Smalling of Las Vegas held a sign that read “Our bodies, our choice.”

Smalling called the decision sobering and wanted to attend the protest instead of just reading about what had happened.

“Realistically, I hope people get more involved because protesting isn’t going to overturn the overturned Supreme Court decision,” Smalling said. “I think this is a good chance for people to become more involved and get involved in grassroots organizations and actually mobilize.”

Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada held a press conference Friday afternoon at the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas. Gov. Steve Sisolak and U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen spoke at the conference, along with representatives from other partner organizations.

Magnus said she felt sick to her stomach throughout the day and wasn’t sure if she wanted to attend the protest.

“But being here and being in community, that’s where we should be right now. It’s a horrible day. It’s a day that I will never forget as long as I live,” Magnus said. “I never want to feel this way again, and I’m going to fight like hell to make sure that fellow Nevadans never have to feel this way again.”

Contact David Wilson at dwilson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @davidwilson_RJ on Twitter.

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