Mothers, pro-choice advocates rally in Jackson Hole

JACKSON – Motivated by the same emotions that drew protesters to the steps of the Supreme Court and other courthouses across the nation on Tuesday, more than 100 abortion-rights advocates took to Town Square to add their voices to the chorus.

“What the F---” one woman’s sign read, expressing her outrage over a Supreme Court draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade leaked Monday that could potentially reverse what abortion-rights supporters see as 50 years of progress in women’s health care.

“I can’t believe that we are having to do this in the year 2022; it’s absurd,” said Jennelle Linn, who was grateful to have the support of her husband and mother-in-law on either arm.

“There’s a 2-year-old, there’s a 74-year-old, it’s not just young people who care,” she said. “It’s not just a women’s issue. It’s a human rights issue.”

Despite the short notice, promotion for the rally spread quickly on social media, with many participants saying it felt good to channel their grief into action. However, one of the organizers, Carrie Kruse, said it didn’t feel like short notice.

“Is it short notice, or is it the same fight over and over again?” she asked.

For some, there was greater urgency to speak out because of Wyoming’s recently passed so-called trigger ban law, which would effectively ban abortions the moment Roe v. Wade is overturned. 

Idaho and 11 other states have similar laws in effect.

Over 100 participants signed a petition for a referendum circulated by Jackson native Dom Lohn, who works as a local paralegal and said she believes there are multiple ways for Wyoming advocates to fight the trigger law in court.

Lohn also encouraged folks to donate to Chelsea’s Fund, a Wyoming nonprofit that offers financial assistance for abortions. The Casper Star-Tribune reported in April that Chelsea’s Fund had assisted 63 people so far in 2022.

Many of the mothers who showed up Tuesday said they supported abortion access for very personal reasons.

“Nothing made me more pro-choice than actually having two children and a miscarriage,” said Kathleen Doffermyre, who grew up in a conservative, anti-abortion family but said her perspective shifted during her first pregnancy.

“You should be a willing participant in pregnancy, because it’s really hard,” she said. “And kids are expensive.”

Demonstrators said limiting abortion access has the largest impact on women who are already struggling or who have less access to resources. Nina Lenz added that women who are forced to remain pregnant against their will are bringing up children in a nation without reliable, affordable child care.

Although nearly all passersby honked or waved in support, the group was heckled early on by one woman with an ice cream cone and a Marilyn Monroe poster who asked if any of the demonstrators had ever had an abortion.

But the pro-choice advocates had a quick comeback, noting that none of the male legislators regulating abortion have had the procedure.