Reproductive rights and the impact of the June 24, 2022 reversal of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision, Roe v. Wade, were the topic of discussion inside a meeting space at the Doubletree Hilton in Roswell Sunday afternoon.
Planned Parenthood President & CEO Alexis McGill Johnson, Senator Jen Jordan (D-Ga.) and Dr. Evelyn Reynolds, a gynecologic oncologist with Wellstar Health System, were the guests of Women for Warnock that afternoon.
With less than six weeks till Election Day and less than three weeks till the start of early voting on October 17, every opportunity to connect with voters is crucial to candidates looking to get an edge on their competition. With just under 95,000 residents Roswell isn’t necessarily a voting stronghold but that is besides the point, says Sophia Burns, chair of Women for Warnock. The locale or location matters less than the message.
“It’s important to have these events everywhere. It is important to have as many of these events in order for women to pass the information on to their husbands and children,” Burns said. “We cannot have enough of these events.”
Democratic State Representative Shea Roberts (District 52) crossed district lines to speak to the women inside the hotel’s Goulding Hall. Roberts said she is “really invested” in the issue that is reproductive rights and that “the thought that my daughter doesn’t have the same rights as I did is terrifying to me.”
Roberts was there to warm up the crowd while they waited for Jordan and McGill Johnson to arrive and wasted no time letting them know what political direction she was headed. “We have to elect pro-choice fighters,” she said. Roberts listed fellow democrats Stacey Abrams, Jordan and Reverend Senator Raphael Warnock as examples of the fighters she believes the party needs in office.
“We can’t let Herschel Walker win,” she said. “I’m sorry but if that’s the best they’ve got then we have to win.”
When McGill Johnson took the stage to a round of applause she too told the crowd that, “We need to elect champions of reproductive liberties at every level of government,” and that Warnock was the right man to represent Georgia in the Senate because of his pro-choice stance. “Abortion bans are going to kill people, they are going to harm Black women,” she said.
A non-political opinion on banning abortions, either in certain states or nationwide, was given by Reynolds, who is the board chair of Planned Parenthood Southeast. There are concerns that healthcare, and more specifically abortion providers will be prosecuted. “There is a lot to process with this,” she said. “In Georgia already half of the counties don’t have female reproductive care, they don’t have an OBGYN practicing. Now, are you going to scare off the physicians because they are going to be afraid to do the scope of their practice?”
Jordan, the Democratic candidate for Attorney General and the current State Senator for District 6 said “too much was on the line for providers and the patients.” She used the Hasbro game Jenga to illustrate how laws and freedoms can be broken down piece by piece until there’s nothing but rubble remaining.
Joyce Scott, a local democrat, said she was at the event in support of the Warnock campaign. “I showed up today because I wanted to show my support for Reverend Warnock because he’s done a phenomenal job for the people of Georgia,” she said.
Fred Smith of Operation New Hope/The Misfit Church conducted a one-man protest outside of the hotel during the event. Smith, a Conyers resident, said he regularly protests outside of Warnock events, even outside of Ebenezer Baptist Church where Warnock has been the senior pastor for the past 17 years. Smith said he doesn’t understand how Warnock can be a pastor and be pro-choice. “I just don’t understand how he can be both,” he said.