The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Steve Hansen
The Staff of The News 

About 100 gather for protest


Last updated 6/30/2022 at 8:08pm

Steve Hansen

Rally organizer Linda Sumption, at microphone, with co-organizer Shyanne Sansom beside her, speaks to the pro-choice rally.

PORTALES - About 100 people gathered Sunday evening in Portales City Park next to the Memorial Building for a rally in protest of the U.S. Supreme Court's nullification of Roe vs. Wade, a 50-year-old decision that established a constitutional right to abortion.

On a sidewalk about 100 feet away, eight counter-protesters associated with the Grace Covenant Reformed Church of Clovis, held up signs favoring the Supreme Court's decision and opposing abortion on demand.

Despite differences of opinion and a few spirited exchanges as pro-choice protestors walked past the pro-life demonstrators at the rally's end, the rally and counter-demonstration were peaceful. Portales police officers gathered in a parking lot nearby to monitor the situation, but did not approach either the rally or the counter-protest.

The rally lasted about 90 minutes.

It began with chants of "My body, my choice" led by rally co-organizer Shyanne Sansom, and continued with speeches often interrupted by cheers of support for pro-choice and women's rights declarations.

In her opening remarks, Linda Sumption, the rally's other co-organizer, said despite the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, "we're not done yet," which brought cheers from the audience.

The Supreme Court's decision ending the Roe guarantees leaves abortion policies to the states, Sumption said, which means that preserving abortion rights will require getting out the vote, she said.

Meanwhile, in New Mexico, a state in which abortion is allowed, "We have to help women in Oklahoma and Texas," where abortion has been repealed, Sumption said, and voters must unite against legislation proposed by former Vice President Mike Pence to impose a "national ban on abortion."

Following Sumption's remarks, the microphone was opened to any who desired to speak.

Speakers who followed told stories about their experiences, as well as those of friends and family members, with abortion and choice.

One told of a 14-year-old fellow student who just stopped showing up to school. The speaker later learned her fellow student had died from the effects of a "coat hanger" abortion.

One said she was a former addict who had aborted one child, but has had a son since leaving addiction. She said she did not regret either decision to abort or the later decision to have the child.

Several speakers said those who oppose abortion as pro-life seem to oppose measures that may have prevented recent school shootings that resulted in the death of children.

While most speakers were women, a few men spoke up, too.

Christian Lenhardt spoke with his wife and 3-month-old daughter beside him and said he feared for his daughter's future rights as a woman in the wake of the end of Roe vs. Wade guarantees.

Another man said men could contribute to ending unwanted pregnancies by receiving vasectomies.

Speaking for the counter-protesters, Logan Brown said he would like to see abortion "abolished in all 50 states."

He said the decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade corrects a misinterpretation of the U.S. Constitution that produced a false right to abortion.

"We are in support of life," he said.

Demonstrators on both sides expressed their views on signs.

The pro-life representatives carried signs that stated "No one should be killed because they are inconvenient," "A person's a person no matter how small (a Dr. Seuss quote)," and "Every baby deserves a birthday," among others.

Pro-choice signs stated "Girls just want to have fun-damental rights," "I am a mother by choice. I am a mother pro-choice," "I'm pro-choice and I vote," "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries," and "women's rights = human rights," among others.


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