The Washtenaw Helpers on Abortion Access (WHOAA!) organized a candlelight vigil on the University of Michigan Diag to support the community in the wake of the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs overruling Roe v. Wade. The gathering will begin at 7 p.m. and the program will begin at 7:30 p.m.
WHOAA! is a group of community leaders and residents from Washtenaw County who seek to support members of the community who need access to safe abortion care.
Many local and state leaders will be present at the vigil including Congresswoman Debbie Dingell. Amongst these leaders, representatives from the MI Reproductive Freedom ballot initiative will be expected to speak.
Organizers of the event hope that the vigil will be a chance to come together as a community, gain insight into the current legal landscape in Michigan, and learn action steps to help protect abortion rights in Michigan.
Michigan Medicine nurse and County Commissioner Katie Scott, Board of Health member and State Representative candidate Carrie Rheingans, and Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit serve as WHOAA! contacts for the event.
“This is not a protest—it’s a way for all of us mourning to come together as one,” Scot said in a release, “It’s a way for the community to find out what they can do to take more action. It’s unthinkable what is happening in our country and we knew people in Washtenaw will want to come together to stand in support of reproductive health justice.”
There is already unequal access to abortion for Americans with fewer means and those who are Black and Indigenous, and according to Scott, the overturning of Roe v. Wade further divides the country in terms of health equity.
“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a woefully misguided decision that discarded decades of precedent, and eliminated a fundamental constitutional right that has been recognized for a half-century. But the Court cannot change the real-world fact that the right to decide whether, when, and under what circumstances to bear a child is, indeed, fundamental,” Savit said in a statement.
Savit ensures that his office will continue to advocate for the right to an abortion under the Michigan Constitution.
“I am scared for my and my daughter’s future and I’m mad as hell at today’s SCOTUS decision,” said Rheingans. “Today, we hold vigil and tomorrow we take action! There are far more of us that support basic healthcare like abortion than those who don’t—we must stay organized to flip Michigan’s House and Senate in November.”