A group of community members gathered at Turlock City Hall Tuesday night to protest the recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade and urged their local representatives to do what they can to ensure women’s rights.
The group chanted and held up signs of protest against the Supreme Court’s ruling that no longer makes abortion a Constitutional right for a woman and instead lets states decide for themselves whether to allow abortion.
A majority of the protesters then went into the Council meeting to speak during public comment period. However, Mayor Amy Bublak limited the number of speakers about women’s rights to two because she said abortion is not under the jurisdiction of the City Council.
Council members Andrew Nosrati and Nicole Larson objected to Mayor Bublak limiting the number of speakers.
“I understand that a Supreme Court ruling isn’t under our jurisdiction, we cannot make rulings here at the City Council. But we have the ability to make proclamations or do advocacy for reform of laws and it would be within the purview of our residents to make appeals to their Council for their positions,” said Nosrati. “I worry that this is jeopardizing this City and putting us in a position of liability for a form of censorship of free speech. We have in the past advocated for reform of laws…”
Council member Larson said she thought members of the public had a right as an American to speak to their elected officials.
The community members were also angry about the Council limiting who could speak during the public comment section.
“I had my uncles both on Council and what is going on with our nation and how they treated us when we went up there, limiting our speech, isn’t right and I don’t think they would be happy with that. I just want what’s best for our future generation, especially having a younger sister, I want her to be able to express herself and have the rights I am fighting for and grew up with,” said Kylie Trio.
“I’m disappointed that you are limiting the amount of speakers we have. I feel we all have the right to speak about whatever we want. I’ve heard many people come up and speak about outlandish things, things the City has no control over, so the fact that we’re now being limited I think is very sad and a stain upon this local government and the City. I think it is a real tragedy,” said an unnamed speaker to the City Council.
“I’m pretty conservative. I think the fact that Roe v. Wade was overturned, though I morally disagree with it, I want the women to have that choice. California will protect it and I want to hear that Turlock will do all in its power to protect it because although I don’t agree with women getting abortions, I want them to have the choice,” said the same speaker.
Gianna addressed the Council saying she represented the Repeal of Roe v. Wade.
“This is going to negatively impact people with a uterus everywhere and I strongly urge you all to not further restrict access in Turlock. If Turlock wants to see a decline in the number of abortions, I urge you to advocate for and put into place more comprehensive sex education in our schools and free and accessible birth control.”
The community group said their protest will continue with a walk for women’s rights down Main Street in Turlock on Friday.
— Rhiana Graham contributed to this report.