GREEN BAY - "My body, my choice." "Abortion is health care." "I'm a person, not a womb."
These are some of the chants that filled the streets of downtown Green Bay on Wednesday afternoon as hundreds of people marched for abortion rights in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The event was organized as part of the Bans Off Our Bodies movement, a national campaign led by abortion rights supporters.
It began with a rally at Baird Park at 3 p.m. before participants took to the streets, holding signs and chanting along their way to Green Bay City Hall. There, the chanting continued and people took turns speaking into a megaphone before heading back to Baird Park around 3:50 p.m.
Cars and trucks honked their horns as a sign of support as they passed through.
Ashley Vandewettering, a 22-year-old Green Bay resident and new mom, was among the participants. She went to the event with her 5-month-old daughter, who was fast asleep in a stroller.
"I'm coming to just support women's rights in general," Vandewettering said. "I think it's a very complicated topic, but I'm here to make sure that my rights and my daughter's rights don't get taken away."
Following the court's decision, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and two major health systems announced a halt on abortion procedures as the legalities of whether an 1849 state law is back in effect are debated. The law bans doctors from performing abortions except when saving the life of the mother.
For friends Madison Schultz, Cora Lee, and Anastasia Birnschein, all 18-year-old recent high school graduates, this was their first time participating in a demonstration. The trio was joined by their 20-year-old friend Alana Weso, who said that while it wasn't her first time at a demonstration, it was her first time advocating for abortion rights.
"We don't like the fact that the Supreme Court is trying to take away our rights about this," Schultz said. "It's not a black-and-white thing, there are always gray areas. And I feel like they're missing a lot of points of why they should not have overturned (Roe v. Wade)."
She added that that it felt very empowering to be out at the event.
Lee said she was there without her parents' knowing, saying she was happy to be out even if it meant going against her parents' wishes. "In the end it's not their choice, it's my choice," she said. "And if I feel like I need to fight for my freedom and the future, I will, because this is my future not theirs."
Birnschein said she wanted to come out because this is something she shouldn't have to come out for.
"I shouldn't have to come back and fight for the rights that my great-grandmothers have fought for," she said. It's just completely unacceptable that I am wasting my last summer before I move on and go to college standing here fighting for rights that I already had."
Weso echoed her friends' comments, saying she thinks that people deserve to have a choice in what they do with their bodies.
According to those who spoke over megaphone outside City Hall, this is only one of many more rallies to come.
Another is scheduled for 5-8 p.m. Sunday on Oneida Street near Lambeau Field, with another in the works for July 9 at Leicht Memorial Park.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Hundreds rally in downtown Green Bay in support of abortion rights