Stop the Bans rally in Ann Arbor draws large crowd on the Diag

Activists, feminists, protestors filled the Diag to support reproductive rights

By Sarah M. Parlette - Associated Producer

Credit | Sarah M. Parlette

ANN ARBOR, Mich - Starting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Stop the Bans rally kicked off on University of Michigan's Diag with a short introduction by Dree Cooper of Hood Feminism asking the crowd, “When abortion rights are under attack, what do we do?”

The crowd responded with, “Stand up and fight back.”

One of many reproductive rights protests taking place across Michigan, the Ann Arbor protest spilled across the Diag with supporters of Planned Parenthood and the ACLU joining fellow activists in raising their voices against the recent abortion ban in Alabama.

Other states, such as Missouri, Georgia, Ohio, Mississippi and Kentucky, have passed "heartbeat" bills that effectively prevent abortions after six to eight weeks, while Utah and Arkansas have passed bills limiting abortion procedures after the middle of the second trimester. 

Credit | Sarah M. Parlette

Cecile Richards, former President of Planned Parenthood Action and creator of Supermajority, Richards noted in a speech that women should not have to reveal their personal stories in order to change minds and stated that health care is a necessity.

Nicole Denson, of #MuteRKelly Detroit, told protestors to remember that inclusivity means not forgetting survivors of sexual assault and those not currently represented in the crowd.

Throughout the protest, speakers encouraged voting, supporting Planned Parenthood, activism and inclusive feminism.

Credit | Sarah M. Parlette

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Hayden Troup, of the Michigan Student Power Network, urged participants to not forget that attacks on reproductive rights don’t just affect female-presenting persons but also people in the LGBTQIA community who may be refused health care by some providers.

Other speakers included Sen. Jeff Irwin; President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan Lori Carpenter; LaShawn Erby of Black Lives Matter Michigan; Jey'nce Poindexter of Equality Michigan; Ann Arbor’s own poet and activist Anika Love; and many others.

Credit | Sarah M. Parlette

The crowd swelled and drowned out the sounds of a smaller group of counter-protesters holding pro-life signs throughout the evening.

The event had its own Snapchat filter and protestors were encouraged to text NOBANS to 22422 in order to receive more information about activism from Planned Parenthood.

Cecile Richards speaks to the crowd at the Stop the Bans rally in downtown Ann Arbor May 21. Credit | Sarah M. Parlette

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