More than 300 people wearing red robes and white bonnets gathered in front of the Michigan State Capitol on Saturday to protest restrictions against abortion.
MSU Women’s Council, Michigan National Organization for Women, Women’s March Michigan and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan sponsored the protest, titled A Handmaid's Tale: Abortion Ban Protest.
Stacey Frausto, a graphic design student at Washtenaw Community College, came up with the idea for the protest. Frausto also designed the poster for the event — a graphic design portrait of a handmaid from the 1985 novel The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.
Frausto said — though The Handmaid's Tale is a fictional story — it seems like it is becoming more of a reality in light of recent laws passed to ban abortions.
“While planning this out I couldn't help but think about how these bills will affect our future as well as people dear to me, like my nieces,” Frausto said in a press release. “I want there to be safe options for them. For us. With the bill being reintroduced to our legislatures here in Michigan, on top of already being passed in multiple states, it’s hitting even closer to home than anyone here could imagine. I hope this event shows them that we won’t stand for this to pass. We won’t sit quietly while our rights get stripped away and we won’t let history repeat itself.”
As a response to the event's theme, attendees dressed as handmaids as the statement of the abortion bans’ resemblance to the oppressive dystopia of The Handmaid's Tale.
MSU Women’s Council Outreach Chair Charlaine Stevenson called on African American women to stand up for their rights.
Stevenson said in her speech that women of color are dying at higher rates from lack of quality health care. She said African American women are three to four times more likely to die while giving birth.
"We are here today because every black woman, women of color, queer women, female bodied individuals and all people deserve rights,” Stevenson said.
Michigan right now has a ban on “partial-birth” abortions, medically known as “dilation and extraction,” a procedure done in the second trimester of pregnancy.
The protest was to respond the legislators deciding to pass the dilation and extraction ban.
MSU Women’s Council President Debbie Miszak said in her speech that politicians want to criminalize abortions, but they don't want to help women and children living in poverty or address other issues such as the wage gap.
"At the end of the day, no one should have to justify their decision to terminate a pregnancy to a politician, and they certainly should not have to face a society in which abortion is criminalized," Miszak said in a press release. "I hope this event puts pressure on the pro-forced birth legislators to recognize that their constituents oppose abortion bans, and that pushing forward with these policies is a misrepresentation of what Michiganders want."