Advocates for abortion rights rallied Wednesday afternoon in Bel Air. The rally began around 5 p.m. at the Harford County Government Center on Main Street and ended in front of the courthouse. About 150 people participated, organized by three Harford County women who posted the rally on the Harford County Social Justice Facebook group page.
Krista Canoles, of Bel Air, said she made the post asking if anyone would want to protest with her after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 decision that guaranteed a woman’s right to have an abortion. More than 200 people responded. Canoles and two other women in the group, Heather Cantos and Debbie Joyner, organized the protest.
“I noticed that there’s not a lot of protests in Maryland, especially local ones, because the state is expected to remain legal,” Canoles said, “but with the elections coming up, it’s very important to get out and vote to make sure [Maryland] remains pro-choice and our rights will not be infringed upon.”
Canoles, who is in her 20s, said she is particularly trying to get Generation Z and millennials out to the polls, groups that are often vocal on social media but have a lower voter turnout.
“Infographics do not equal activism,” she said. “I highly encourage people who like to post [opinions] on social media to participate in protests and rallies, and I really encourage my age group to get out there and vote.”
Riding a power scooter along the protest route, Debbie Joyner, 67, said she remembers when the Roe v. Wade ruling was handed down 49 years ago and what life was like for women prior to the ruling.
“I remember those days,” she said.
Joyner, one of the organizers of the protest, said she got involved because of her daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter. “I’m looking at the future so they don’t have less rights than I did.”
Katy Ziegler held her infant daughter, Josie, in one arm and waived a sign proclaiming “My mom is raising a warrior” with the other arm during the rallly. A mother of three girls, including a 4-year-old and 7-year-old, Ziegler said she was protesting for her girls’ futures.
“I want them to grow up in a world where they feel safe and they have value and rights, and I feel that’s whittling away,” Ziegler said.