On Saturday morning, thousands gathered near the Georgia State Capitol downtown to protest HB 481, a bill recently signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp that bars most abortions after six weeks. Several local advocates including Planned Parenthood Southeast public affairs manager Liliana Bakhtiari, Wanda Mosley of Black Voters Matter, and actress Frances Fisher gave speeches at a short rally before a march from the capitol to CNN Center, ending in Centennial Olympic Park. The #DoBetterGA protest was organized by Molly Weston and India Sayers, both college students and first-time event planners. Sayers said the protest was put together in just nine days.
“I am mad that my 15-year-old sister is about to grow up in a world where she’s being stripped of body autonomy,” Sayers said as she began the rally. “Where is the Georgia, where is the America we should be proud of?”
“We know that when you [outlaw] abortion it does not stop abortion, it stops safe and legal abortion. Bans like these do not protect lives, they destroy them,” Bakhitari said during her speech. She noted that Planned Parenthood Southeast had filed a lawsuit in Alabama, where Governor Kay Ivey recently signed a bill that bans abortion unless the mother’s life is at risk, and nodded at plans for a similar lawsuit in Georgia by saying, “Kemp, we have a message for you: we’ll be seeing you in court soon as well.”
“Abortion is not a woman’s right issue. It is a people’s rights issue and a human right for all,” said Amna Ali, president of the Georgia State chapter of Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, in her rally address. “This is a fight for the autonomy of all people. We will not stop until a world exists where all people have the agency and resources to make choices about their bodies and lives.”