Pro-choice advocates continue protests in central Kentucky

Pro-choice protestors sit on the steps of the Kentucky State Capitol and listen to organizer...
Pro-choice protestors sit on the steps of the Kentucky State Capitol and listen to organizer Katima Smith-Willis on Sunday, June 26, 2022.(Darnell Crenshaw)
Published: Jun. 26, 2022 at 10:37 PM CDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Protestors took to the Kentucky State Capitol steps by the hundreds Sunday night to once again voice their displeasure with the recent ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, as well as the trigger law that took effect which means abortions are banned across the state.

It followed protests on Friday in Lexington. Katima Smith-Willis organized the rally and says the Supreme Court ruling appalled her, and that she feels as a black woman, she’s now at the bottom of the barrel in the commonwealth.

“I feel like I don’t matter, here in the commonwealth of Kentucky, me as a woman, I do not matter,” said Smith-Willis, who lives in Frankfort.

She pointed to the effect that the Dobbs v. Jackson decision could have on black women in particular as more reason to have their voices heard.

”Black women have the highest mortality rate in death with bearing children,” Smith-Willis said. “So I think that with Roe v. Wade being overturned and abortions being taken off the table here in Kentucky, that rates going to increase and more black women are going to die.”

Smith-Willis says she’s aware that advocates’ interest in this issue and more can’t fade if they wish to enact change.

“I think if they can dial the time back 50 years with this specific matter, imagine what else is gonna be on the table when we talk about the amendments and the constitution,” said Smith-Willis.

Smith-Willis says she understood state politicians likely wouldn’t be at the Capitol with them on a Sunday evening. But she hopes that the continuing coverage of people speaking up and speaking out will send them a strong message.

State representative George Brown out of Lexington was the only lawmaker we saw who came to watch the demonstrations. He says he wants to internalize the emotions and expressions he observed and bring it to Kentucky’s legislative table for further conversations on this topic.

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