Sunday, March 26, 2023

'Here to make a statement'

Staff Writer | January 23, 2023 1:08 AM

Nearly 200 people of all ages marched in downtown Coeur d’Alene on Sunday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark court decision that granted the constitutional right to abortion. It was overturned by the Supreme Court in June.

“They say no choice, we say pro-choice,” shouted Teresa Borrenpohl, an organizer for the event.

She led the crowds down the streets and guided the groups in chants.

Similar marches took place throughout the U.S. on Sunday. Borrenpohl collaborated with a few other women to coordinate the faction of the national march in Coeur d’Alene.

Before filling the sidewalks, the crowd gathered in the Community Room at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library, where some who attended told their stories about why they planned to walk.

“Nobody in this room is ‘pro-abortion,’” said Laura Tenneson, the lead organizer for the event. “Everybody in this room is pro-choice. It’s the woman’s choice, and it’s her business, and it’s her privacy that’s at stake.”

About a dozen women shared their personal experiences with the crowd. Some had struggled to find access to abortions they needed for health reasons, some helped women to get an abortion, some were doctors, some shared their mother’s stories and some shared their own stories.

Many women cried, and crowd members occasionally laughed together, but all stood up for a woman’s right to make reproductive health decisions during difficult situations.

Megan Dardis-Kunz held back tears as she read a letter from her friend. Her hands trembled as she talked about a medically necessary abortion. Her Christian friend believed an abortion was the most compassionate choice for her baby, which had a rare and severe genetic defect that would prevent the child from being born alive.

“There are many people who believe abortion is murder, and I support their right to believe that,” said Karen, who is a Christian.

She declined to give her last name because, she said, she’s had an abortion and she’s afraid of the political climate right now.

“I don’t (expletive) support their right to put their beliefs on me,” she said, and the crowd broke into applause. “I just talked to God this morning, and she told me she supports me.”

Other women described abusive relationships. Many described getting an abortion to protect their other children and do the best they could for them.

Some women had stinging guilt and some were proud.

When the march began, Borrenpohl directed people to be courteous, polite, to follow traffic laws and not to engage with counter-protesters.

A man shouted, “It’s not your body, different DNA,” from across the street, but overall the event was peaceful and happy.

“We’re here to make a statement today, but not to ruin anybody’s day,” Borrenpohl said.



People of all ages marched in downtown Coeur d'Alene to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding a woman's right to abortion in Roe v. Wade.



Supporters of Roe v. Wade walk from the Coeur d'Alene Public Library toward Sherman Avenue, shouting, “They say no choice, we say pro-choice,” to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision.



Alicia Abbot prepares the sign as a crowd of people prepare to travel down Sherman Avenue in support the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade. The crowd shouted chants like, "My body, my choice," as they marched from the library to Second Street and back Sunday.



Teresa Borrenpohl speaks at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library before a march celebrating the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Nearly 200 people registered to attend the march, which started at the library, people walked up Sherman Avenue to Second Street and returned to the library.

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