‘Abortion is so encompassing’: Ames community protests for reproductive rights

Amber Mohmand

Signs brandished with “My body, my choice” and chants of “Keep your messiah out of my vagina” echoed throughout Lincoln Way on Wednesday as the Ames community protested the overturning of Roe v. Wade. 

Within 10 days, abortion is no longer protected under the state and U.S. Constitution, as the Supreme Court overruled its prior precedent. Most recently, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that created the constitutional right to abortion, in a 6-3 decision Friday. 

A week earlier, the Iowa Supreme Court determined that abortion is not protected by the state constitution, overturning its 2018 decision. The aftermath of both decisions is starting to take place as protests spark across the country. 

For one mother, pregnancy is a life or death situation. Brooke Kruger of Ames stood at the edge of the sidewalk on Lincoln Way as she held up a sign that said pregnancy would put her life in danger. 

“I have a brain tumor sitting on an artery in my brain and pregnancy is incredibly dangerous for me,” Kruger told the Iowa State Daily. “I feel like I shouldn’t have to jump through legal groups. If I’m pregnant, I need to get the health care I need to survive to stay here for my kids.” 

Kruger, who has two daughters, said pregnancy was dangerous for her even before her tumor. 

“Abortion is so encompassing,” Kruger said. “In fact, it affects people that have late-term problems with their pregnancies or ectopic pregnancies or people like me — that pregnancy actually poses a danger to my life. I don’t think it’s a clear-cut issue; I think it’s a woman’s choice.” 

There are substantial disparities in abortion rates in the United States, with low-income women and women of color having higher rates than affluent and white women, according to the National Library of Medicine. 

“In 2008, the abortion rate for non-Hispanic white women was 12 abortions per 1000 reproductive-age women, compared with 29 per 1000 for Hispanic women, and 40 per 1000 for non-Hispanic Black women,” according to the National Library of Medicine. 

State Sen. Herman Quirmbach, who was at the protest with Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, recalled life before Roe.

“Women from well-to-do families could find a way to have an abortion,” Quirmbach told the Daily. “You either traveled to one of the few states back then that had begun to loosen the restrictions. Or you flew off to another country. Or people with the right social connections could find a doctor who was willing to do it off the record. Women of lesser means, financially speaking, and less in the way of social connections, often had to resort to the back alley or self-induced (abortions).” 

Regarding allocations about abortion legislation for rape, Quirmbach expects Reynold’s to mirror the severity of other states’ restrictions. 

“So I can well envision Kim Reynolds telling some 14 year old girl ‘Gee, it’s too bad you got raped. But my government is going to force you to carry that pregnancy to term,’” he said. “I’m sorry, I know that’s crude but that may well be the reality in Iowa.” 

A march and rally for reproductive rights will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bandshell Park.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story misquoted Sen. Herman Quirmbach. The article has since been corrected. The Daily regrets this error.