Demonstrators in support of abortion rights stand at the intersection of the Kenai and Sterling highways on Saturday, May 7, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

Demonstrators in support of abortion rights stand at the intersection of the Kenai and Sterling highways on Saturday, May 7, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

With post-Roe focus on abortion access, Alaska advocates plan events for Saturday

July 9 events taking place in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and Homer

By Lisa Phu

Alaska Beacon

Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates Alaska is holding events in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Homer and Juneau on Saturday focused on abortion access advocacy.

The goal of the events is “so that people know how to get involved and that they’re not alone,” said Rose O’Hara-Jolley, Alaska state director of Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates Alaska. “We’re going to make sure that abortion stays safe and legal in our state.”

Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates is a nonprofit that advocates for and provides education about reproductive health in Alaska and five other states.

The Anchorage Planned Parenthood event is at the same time as former President Donald Trump’s rally at the Alaska Airlines Center in support of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka, Republican U.S. House candidate Sarah Palin and Republican governor candidate Mike Dunleavy, the incumbent.

Several pro-abortion-rights rallies have taken place around the state since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade June 24, ending the federal right to abortion and putting access to it in the hands of states. O’Hara-Jolley said the July 9 date was set months ago, long before the actual decision came out. They said Planned Parenthood has been planning for a post-Roe world for a long time.

“We knew even before the leak. We’ve been very clearly preparing for this for about 18 months,” they said.

Abortion remains legal in Alaska through the state constitution’s provision on privacy, but abortion-rights advocates say that right is fragile. O’Hara-Jolley said there are lots of ways to be involved in the pro-abortion-rights effort, including volunteering.

“We’re going be doing lots of proactive work around getting people who support our values elected, about making sure that people know to vote no on the constitutional convention, to support abortion access in Alaska, and then passing proactive bills in the Legislature, like sex-ed and 12 months of birth control,” they said.

O’Hara-Jolley said the Planned Parenthood events are focused around art, including musicians, poets, and an activity in Anchorage called ‘smash the plate-triarchy.’

“They’re going to be able to write whatever it is that they need to get rid of on a plate. Then, in a safe and managed way, folks will get to smash that plate to get the catharsis of what they need out,” O’Hara-Jolley said.

Planned Parenthood is working with Native Movement, a nonprofit that advocates for civil rights and social justice, to turn plate pieces into mosaics. David Clark, gender justice and police communications specialist at Native Movement, said the nonprofit has a long-standing relationship with Planned Parenthood as part of its gender justice and healing program, which focuses on women’s and LGBTQ rights issues.

“Our choice for getting involved is to support healthy, just and safe communities for all,” Clark said. “Being able to support Planned Parenthood on this event is really supporting the overall goal of gender justice and healing to be inclusive of women and LGBTQ people.”

The July 9 event in Anchorage is happening at Park Strip from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Fairbanks event is happening at the Tanana Valley State Fairgrounds from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Homer’s event will start at the HERC building at 11:45 a.m. followed by a march to WKFL Park 12:30 to 2:30. In Juneau, the event will be at the Marine Park Plaza from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. O’Hara-Jolley said Nome held one this past weekend.

Lisa Phu covers justice, education, and culture for the Alaska Beacon. Previously, she spent eight years as an award-winning journalist, reporting for the Juneau Empire, KTOO Public Media, KSTK, and Wrangell Sentinel. This article originally appeared online at Alaska Beacon, an affiliate of States Newsroom, is an independent, nonpartisan news organization focused on connecting Alaskans to their state government.

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