Milford– The Milford version of “Bans Off Our Bodies” rallies, advocated by Planned Parenthood nationally, was held in front of Pike County Courthouse on Broad Street on May 14. Organized by Delaware Valley Action!(DVA!), more than 250 people of all ages, men and women, showed up. Some brought their kids and almost all brought their home-made signs.
The group’s sentiments were echoed by more than a million people at various rallies throughout the country doing the same thing on the same day in support of women’s reproductive rights.
Ed Gragert, chair of DVA!, said “ I only knew about 10% of the people, so the issue brought out a lot of people who normally don’t get involved.” At the beginning of the rally, people held their signs facing Broad Street so people in passing cars could read them. A circus-like atmosphere prevailed, with cars and even motorcycles honking loudly and cheering the group on. Messages on many of the signs were clever and some very graphic: “Mind your own uterus!” “Keep your laws off my body!” “Abortion is health care!” “Women’s rights are human rights!” “Never again” (with a picture of a coat hanger with drops of blood coming from it). And “Really? My mom marched for this years agol.” And “Anti-Abortion? Get a vasectomy!”
Among 13 speakers, many stressed electing people in Harrisburg who shared the values they expressed. Some speakers were motivational, some hard- hitting with statistics. (See the speaker list in the sidebar)
Many of the speakers were locally known, for example, Lisa Miller, Cheryl Glenn, Amy Ferris, and Milford Mayor Sean Stub. Amy Ferris cited heart-wrenching statistics on how many women have died from amateur abortions. But the most motivational and impressive speech was given by Olivia Van Tassell, a 15 year-old student at DVHS who incidentally is the niece of Sean Strub and the daughter of Megan Stub. She spoke about the future someone her age will have to face if Roe v.Wade is overturned.
Gragert stressed that DVA! is a not-for-profit advocacy group whose mission is to promote progressive issues and candidates who share their values, but are not necessarily of the same political party. They meet monthly at the Waterwheel café on the first or second Wednesday of the month. Their next meeting is June 15 from 6-7:30 p.m.