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Reproductive rights protesters rally outside a federal Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles on May 3, 2022. (Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

On This July 4th, Abortion Rights Movement Says 'We're Not in the Mood for Fireworks'

"If we don’t have the ability to make decisions about if, when, and how to grow our families—we don't have freedom."

Brett Wilkins

Under the banner "When women are not free, no one is free," reproductive rights defenders took to the streets of cities and towns across the United States on Monday for Independence Day abortion rights rallies in the wake of the Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade.

"We don't feel free and we don't want to celebrate a country that is taking away rights."

"We don't feel free and we don't want to celebrate a country that is taking away rights," Aly Whitman, organizer of a protest in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, told the Lexington Herald Leader.

At a rally in Framingham, Massachusetts, demonstrator Esta Montano told Metro West Daily News that "this is a day celebrating independence and liberty," but that this year the Fourth of July is "not really a day where we can consider that we have our liberties intact."

Montano told the paper she also protested for reproductive freedom half a century ago.

"The fact that I have to do it again—at age 68—it's unconscionable," she said.

In Lansing, Michigan, abortion rights demonstrators blocked the city's July 4th parade.

"I think it's necessary, I think that people need to be here to show that they support women and people with uteruses," protester Madison Kearly told WLNS. "And I think that unless stuff like this happens, nothing's gonna change. And we need action."

In Orlando, Florida—where city officials apologized for an Independence Day message asking "why on Earth would you want to have a party" right now—pro-choice activists rallied at the Orange County Courthouse, where they chanted "my body, my choice" and other slogans.

"Being quiet no longer works," protester Kayla Torres told "This is actually my first time participating in a event like this and I'm here because if I don't fight for my rights, who is."

The reproductive justice group NARAL Pro-Choice America tweeted: "Today, we're supposed to be celebrating freedom and independence—two ideals we were raised to believe are central to our country. But after SCOTUS took away our fundamental right to abortion, we're not in the mood for fireworks—but we are in the mood to #FightBackForFreedom."

"If we don't have the ability to make decisions about if, when, and how to grow our families," the group added, "we don't have freedom."

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