A large group of pro-choice activists gathered at Gibson Park last Saturday. The goal? Fight back against egregious assaults on our bodily autonomy. Activists registered voters, wrote postcards to their representatives and connected with local pro-choice candidates. But all work and no play quickly leads to burnout, so fun was also on the agenda. A free clothing giveaway, yoga, and musical entertainment all added to the spirit of community involvement.

Attendees were also treated to a visit from Congressional House Candidate, Penny Ronning. Ronning is running against Republican Matt Rosendale and Independent Gary Buchanan for Montana’s Eastern district. Ronning candidly shared her reasons for being firmly pro-choice. Rosendale’s anti-choice views are clearly established. Buchanan’s website addresses the right to privacy, but the word “abortion” is not included in that section.** Uncompromising support for reproductive freedom is a non-negotiable for many of us as we approach election season. For me, that includes openly saying the word “abortion.” Avoiding the word promotes continued stigmatization. So, Ronning’s unapologetic support for our medical freedom and willingness to say “abortion” is a welcome departure from the usual “play both sides” politics we’re all used to.

The arts have always been a haven of creativity, free speech, and peaceful protest. Live music was provided by artists Joe Ryan, Red Sky Morning from Lewistown, and Great Falls’ own Dirt Wave. All entertainers donated their time and talents in support of abortion rights. Barb Walden of Yoga! Of Course! also treated guests to a free yoga class, a self-care essential when the current dystopia is getting your down. Check out these awesome talents here:
Dirtwave: https://www.facebook.com/dirtwaveMT
Joe Ryan: Joe doesn’t have a facebook, but he performs every Sunday at the Black Eagle Country Club from 10am-1pm and every Wednesday at the Halftime Sports Bar from 5:30pm-8:30pm.
Barb Walden Yoga! Of Course! https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100078264060601

If you weren’t able to make it Saturday, stay tuned as we’ll have many other Pro-Choice activism opportunities coming your way! Until then, enjoy these snapshots!

***updated for clarity and readability
Candidate Lela Graham speaks with Pro-Choice voters
Congressional candidate, Penny Ronning, shares her Pro-Choice story with the crowd
Musical artist, Joe Ryan, entertains activists while they register to vote
Your intrepid author defies the heat to sport this fashionable contraception ensemble