A group of approximately 100 people marched from the Mountainlair to the Morgantown Courthouse for a Stand with West Virginia Women rally to support women’s health rights.
A coalition of organizations supporting women’s rights and Planned Parenthood, along with students and people of all ages, chanted for their cause and listened to speakers.
The campaign had more than 300 supporters rally in Charleston, W.Va., in August and will continue with events throughout the state.
“We’re here to promote women’s health over politics,” said Margaret Chapman Pomponio, executive director of WVFree. “We began mobilizing after Attorney General Patrick Morrisey started attacking women’s health providers in June.”
Morrisey assumed office as attorney general of West Virginia in January and has started a “fact-finding mission” to sort out how the laws in West Virginia address abortion facilities.
According to Stand with West Virginia Women, many of the facts presented by Morrisey are lies that go against basic science.
“He campaigned unfortunately saying he was going to attack women’s reproductive rights and now he is making true of that promise,” Pomponio said. “We want to spread the word that this is happening. It is a step-by-step playbook that they are using to attack all comprehensive women’s health providers.”
The protesters said they are concerned with what Morrisey’s reforms will mean for the future of reproductive care in West Virginia.
“The consequences can make it much more difficult for women (in particular) to access all types of reproductive care,” said Pam Van Horn, a Planned Parenthood representative. “It’s not just women. Men depend upon our family health clinics in West Virginia that provide contraceptive services.
“And by doing that he’s making it much more difficult to prevent unwanted pregnancies. I think he’s going against the very thing he stands for.”
A group of counter-protesters supporting the pro-life cause were present in the background of the rally.
The counter-protesters followed the march and were quietly present in the background of the rally.
“There (are) lots of pro-life rallies; it’s a chance to get out and say something about pro-life, to stand out when other people stand out about being pro-choice,” said Andrew Hamilton, one of many protesters from the John Newman Church. “It’s just a retaliation, I suppose. I’m not standing for the politician but more or less the cause of life.”