Organizers protest the Women’s Resource Clinic, call for reproductive rights


Protestors ranging from women to men come together in front of the Bell Memorial Union. Photo credit: Dominique Wood

Passing cars honked and cheered as protesters, holding signs with phrases like “choice matters,” and “keep your rosaries off my ovaries,” stood in front of the Wildcat statue, Friday evening.

The protesters were from Women on Reproduction Defense (WORD), and they had come to protest an event taking place at the same time in the Bell Memorial Union auditorium starting at 5 p.m. The Women’s Resource Clinic had rented the space for their annual dinner, which is designed to spotlight the clinic and collect donations for the organization.

WORD came to protest both the dinner, as the Clinic has taken a pro-life stance, and on behalf of their pro-choice stance.

A protester holding up a poster. Photo credit: Dominique Wood

The auditorium where the dinner was held was open only to those who had bought tickets to the event and was completely closed to the press. As attendees of the dinner walked to the auditorium’s door, they passed by protesters holding signs, as cars honked and passersby shouted.

A women's protest sign along with a rosary beads. Photo credit: Dominique Wood

WORD participants lined signs along the entrance to the campus. When approached by onlookers, they explained their position.

A stack of protesting posters, outside the BMU Photo credit: Dominique Wood

Ellen Galena, one participant on behalf of WORD, said, “Women are really feeling the need to speak out about what is going on in our country, and so this an opportunity to (be) heard.”

“We just met some people who are standing in support of survivors as well,” she said.

Some protesters had made their own costumes, such as the red dress and white hat worn by characters from the Hulu show, “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Their signs had sayings such as “Thou shalt not mess with women’s reproductive rights,” and “Keep your policies off my body.”

Attendees of the Clinic’s dinner, most older and well-dressed, occasionally stopped to talk to protesters, asking about their signs and purpose for protesting.

One attendant of the dinner, Martha Kersey, said in response to the protesters, “Young women have been lied to … you’ve been brainwashed.”

Although the event remained closed to the press, organizer Brenda Dowdin made a statement outside the auditorium.

“We are a non-judgement type of clinic – we just love women where they’re at,” Brenda Dowdin said.

“When a woman comes in and she happens to be pregnant, we give her all three options and let her make the decision for what she wants to do with her life.”

Dowdin added, “We believe that abortion hurts women.”

As the dinner went on inside the BMU, the attendees largely ignored those standing on the street with signs. The protesters remained outside of the building for the rest of the evening.

Natalie Hanson can be reached at [email protected] or @NatalieH_Orion on Twitter.