Thirteen-year-old Kassandra Dellinger said she's worried about her future and her ability to make decisions that will affect her life if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade.
That's why she organized Friday's Women's Rights are Human Rights event in downtown Clarksville.
Kassandra worked with her mom, Vanessa Llanes, and their friend Brittney Stanfill to create a Facebook page to announce and promote the march before the Friday event.
“I think we have reached about 1,400 people,” Stanfill said. “Sixty people responded saying they would be here, and I think we actually have about seventy.”
The group's logo is a sign in pink, encouraging women to fight back, above a likeness of recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. On Friday, the group started marching at the Tennessee Triumph Suffrage statue in front of F & M Bank and ended at the Montgomery County Courthouse.
As the crowd gathered, local attorney Jane Olson, who carried a sign reading “I stand with RBG” offered her thoughts on the subject
“I think the United States Constitution is a fluid document that through interpretation has evolved in many different ways over the years, since it was written and adopted by the country,” Olson said. “One of those ways is with Roe v Wade, where the Supreme Court found that their was a right to privacy, and they included the right to abortion in that right to privacy, and I believe that.
Olson says she is concerned about the future.
“I think the country is getting more and more conservative,” Olson said. “I'm afraid when people say contraception is next, that concerns me. That is one of the reasons I'm here. I'm under the impression that the state of Tennessee is already working to repeal Plan B. We also have what's knows as a trigger law here. The day the Supreme Court decision is made, all abortion becomes illegal in the state of Tennessee. And, I think that includes cases of rape and incest as well.”
Dozens of Pro Choice supporters assembled for the march, and they were mostly women, carrying signs.
Charles Uffelman is the candidate support chair for the Democratic Party and sits on the State Executive Committee of the Democratic Party. He took the lead from an organizational standpoint. He encouraged everyone to stay on the sidewalks, not to engage with hecklers, and even helped the group put together some chants.
Passers-by honked their horns in support of the group and no hecklers were encountered along the march.
At the base of the courthouse steps, Ward 9 City Councilwoman Karen Reynolds took a moment.
“I'm here today because I trust the women,” Reynolds said. “The Republican party leaders have made it very clear that they do not support healthcare for women, and that they don't trust the women.
“In the state of Tennessee, under the last fifteen years of Republican control, the number of women in maternity care who have died and the number of children who have died has increased. They've only made it deadlier for women to have babies, saying that they don't trust us to make our own choices and taking away our rights.”
Reynolds said she is not surprised by Justice Samuel Alito's leaked opinion on the issue, saying that she “knew when 53% of white women voted for Donald Trump, this is where America would be within four or five years.”
While the Pro Choice supporters didn't encounter any real opposition during their march, two dissenters were in attendance.
Karen England is the executive director of the Parental Rights Council, a public policy organization based in California.
“I live here in Clarksville, and I work on the issues like parental rights, religious freedom and certainly the issue of life,” England said. “I don't know why there is such an uproar over the leaked Supreme Court opinion. It would just mean decision-making would be sent back to the states.
“I am a female. Do we not care about the female babies? I was a single mom. I have a half-sister from rape. It's not that I don't understand. It's not that I haven't faced any of these decisions, or am uninformed about them, I just don't get the brouhaha over this leak. Nothing has changed, and in all honesty there are so many states where nothing will change.”
Becky Zientek said, “I was that girl, pregnant at 20, not married, told to have an abortion, or give up my child. I could not. But, I also did not give up on my dreams. In fact, I was able to show my child, and his three siblings ... how to keep moving forward with your dreams even with children and a family
“I was able to go to college. I was able to finish my career in the military. I was able to build a successful business, and through it all, my children have never become barriers. They have gotten to bear witness to what is possible.”
This article originally appeared on Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle: Clarksville teen leads dozens in downtown march for abortion rights