About 80 protestors packed each side of the road at the Brunswick Road and Sutton Way intersection Tuesday afternoon, joining thousands of #StopTheBans supporters nationwide who rallied for abortion rights.
The demonstrators were responding to legislation recently approved in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio and Mississippi that would restrict access to abortions in those states.
The protestors in Grass Valley waved signs and held coat hangers to highlight the dangers of making abortion illegal.
Some, like 69-year-old Adella Albiani, remember the days before Roe v. Wade.
“I’ve been doing this since I became a voter at 18,” said Albiani, reminiscing about how excited she was when abortion finally became legal. “I never thought I would have to do this again.”
Sarah Nesbit said she was “so proud” sons Adrian, 21, and Paiton, 16, came with her to support women’s rights.
“I don’t want to see anybody get hurt because of the (abortion) bans, or … not be able to have freedom of choice,” Nesbit said. “I see the value of having rights — and options.”
Across the street, a group of Nevada Union High School students encouraged honking, sang and engaged in an impromptu can-can line. Claire Fraser, 16, said they were there to defend their rights.
“What if we told them what they can do with their bodies?” Fraser asked. “It’s not cool.”
Three counter-demonstrators were on hand to express their views as well.
“I believe abortion is used too often for birth control,” said a woman who identified herself only as Diane, as she held a “Choose life” sign. “I believe strongly in this. Somebody’s got to stand up for the babies.”
Lauren Rice held a sign that proclaimed she was adopted, and that provided a number of contacts for adoption referrals.
“I know my biological mom,” Rice said. “She was considering abortion at first, but she reached out for help and was put in contact with an adoptive family. There are services available that can and will help you.”
Counter-protestor Jeff Sporny was far more confrontational, waving his sign in front of demonstrators and calling women who have abortions “murderers.” At one point, Sporny and protester Kimberly Pepe got into a lengthy discussion after she confronted him over what she considered his bullying.
“I told him I will listen to you, I will hear your story, but you have to stop yelling at my sisters,” Pepe said.
Pepe was at the rally because, she said, she believes Americans have the right to autonomy over their own bodies.
“It’s not just a women’s issue,” she said. “It’s about freedom from government interference.”
More than 450 events had been organized to take place Tuesday in all 50 states, sponsored in part by the ACLU and NARAL Pro-Choice America. A number of Democratic presidential contenders joined the protests, including Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mayor Pete Buttigieg in Washington.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Associated Press contributed to this report.