Abortion rights a central message at Dowdy Park rally

By on September 26, 2022

Part of a crowd estimated to have been around 100 people. (Photos by Corinne Saunders)
Congressional candidate Barbara Gaskins told those on hand that “our district is hurting.” (Photos by Corinne Saunders)
Ana Figiel holds a sign at the Dowdy Park Rally. (Photos by Corinne Sanders)
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Speakers hailing from as close as Dare County and as far away as Charlotte and New York shared messages encouraging civil engagement and hope for the state’s future at Rally for Our Freedoms on Sept. 25 at Dowdy Park in Nags Head.

The Dare County Democratic Party, Democratic Women of Dare, Dare County Progressive Caucus, Indivisible OBX and Stronger NC OBX jointly hosted the rally where speakers encouraged voting for candidates who back abortion access; the LGBTQ+ community; education; and democracy in this midterm election. Estimates put the crowd in the vicinity of 100 people.

“We are all here to show that we stand for freedom and democracy in North Carolina,” said Rachelle Salo, senior regional organizer for North and South Carolina for the Indivisible Project. “We do not want to repeat the injustices of the past.”

Many rally attendees explained that they were spurred to attend by the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in June. “I don’t believe in having our rights reduced,” said Margaret Saunders, a Manteo resident. “We’ve been fighting for forty years to have them increased.”

Xavier Richardson, a 22-year-old man from Powell’s Point, attended to support women. He held a sign stating, “boys will be boys feminists.”

“I want women to have the right to do what they want to with their own body,” he said. “That’s my main reason for being here.”

Event speaker Victoria Pittman, the community organizer for Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic, encouraged attendees to see the far-reaching consequences of the upcoming election.

“Make no mistake, the impact of this decision goes beyond abortion,” Pittman said. “This is about who has power over you; who has the authority to make decisions for you.”

Anti-choice political candidates have stated they want a full abortion ban in North Carolina, Pittman noted, meaning this election is crucial. She invited attendees to visit the informational tables and sign up to assist U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley and local pro-choice candidates in their campaigns, as well as to donate to Carolinaabortionfund.org.

Jessica Fearns, a candidate for Dare County Board of Education, encouraged people to turn off national, polarizing news and find commonalities with their neighbors in this unique place. This community is “filled with compassion and love” and neighbors who help each other in storm aftermath, she said. “It’s the type of place where kids can get a free helmet to honor a local schoolgirl who lost her life riding her bike home from school.”

Fearns described how the community fundraised $10,000 to support a local librarian in caring for her ailing mother; how local artists created a mural to honor a mother and son lost in a house fire; and how a distillery made and distributed free hand sanitizer during a national shortage.

“Polarizing, extreme political conspiracy has no place here,” Fearns said. “It has no place in our schools, and it certainly has no place on our school board. We must vote in November for sensible, fair, honest local candidates who will move our community forward.”

Barbara Gaskins, Democratic candidate for U.S. House of Representatives for North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District, also spoke about forward rather than backward movement, and she voiced her respect for the daughter of her opponent, incumbent Republican Greg Murphy.

“I would like to take a minute to honor Greg Murphy’s daughter,” Gaskins said. “Caroline used her voice to speak out regarding her sexual assault and outrage regarding the Supreme Court’s decision through a TikTok in July. It took a huge amount of courage to do this, to stand up against your own parent, but that’s what it takes sometimes.”

Gaskins shared that sexual assault occurs nationally every 68 seconds and called abortion “a health care issue that is between that person and their doctor; no one else.” She also spoke to the need for “better solutions” to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place, such as education, access to contraceptives and support for mental health issues.

“We must also understand that restricting abortion systematically ensures the continuation of cycles of poverty and hopelessness,” she said. “Those that can afford to travel are inconvenienced, but it is literally a life sentence for those who cannot.”





  • Bobby

    Estimated, over 63 MILLION babies killed in this country so far.

    Monday, Sep 26 @ 4:53 pm
  • Tomg

    “LIFE, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”……sound familiar?

    Monday, Sep 26 @ 5:18 pm
  • Jorge Diaz

    Democrats are the party of death. Abortion is their high sacrament. The Supreme Court merely returned the death issue to the states.

    Monday, Sep 26 @ 5:50 pm
  • Tom

    Woohoo!! It was a great rally!

    Monday, Sep 26 @ 5:50 pm
  • disgruntled

    My body my choice, baby’s body no choice.
    I’m not saying there aren’t circumstances where abortion is appropriate. I’m saying the argument sounds cold and selfish when the baby is not taken into account. Everything gets abused. The only federal intervention in any way should be to determine when life begins.

    Monday, Sep 26 @ 6:39 pm
  • Ripley

    Nothing like preaching your love for abortion at a children’s playground right?

    Monday, Sep 26 @ 6:56 pm
  • John Reston

    Typical conservative echo chamber in here. Spare the fetus but abandon any hope of post-birth support for a mother who may be in no position to financially and/or emotionally support a child. Birth that baby but don’t use my tax dollars to help raise it! Top that off with the ‘pro life’ party having zero issues with unfettered access to any type of firearms because muh freedums! and you have the dictionary definition of hypocrisy.

    ~Every~ woman should be outraged that someone can assume power over how to control & take self-ownership her body.

    Monday, Sep 26 @ 8:07 pm
  • Sandflea

    Nothing says “life” like forcing a 10 Yr old to bear their rapists child. Not only would it kill the child bearing adolescent while delivering the neonate, but I can’t think of a more loving and caring bond between the mother and the rapists baby. I’m sure the jail visitations would be extremely invigorating, but the long term outlook for the unwanted child would be amazing. I’m sure the pro-lifers will be first in line cutting checks for the unwanted child of a rapist and the victim of a rape. Praise Jesus.

    Monday, Sep 26 @ 8:19 pm
  • Just a mom

    I believe most women are smart enough to know that the Constitution of the United States and or the bill of rights does not say anywhere it’s ok to kill your baby. I also believe most women know if they (physically or psychologically) or their babies lives are in jeopardy they will be given the care they need. I and many will be voting to ensure our states make the right decision to allow for such cases to be held at the discretion of a woman and her Dr.
    However, I don’t condone abortion for any other reason and will be darned if my money pays for murder. I do not want blood on my hands. How dare this group try to enlist or should I say force the opposition against their will to participate in such gruesome behavior. It’s just like the Covid shots and trying to put us all in line or else … sick.
    Vote Right! Vote For the unborn! Vote Freedom!

    Monday, Sep 26 @ 8:59 pm
  • charlie

    I attended both Saturday and Sunday… I am sure the attendees at Saturday got what they wanted… Rousing Old Testament quotes backing up their belief that our country first and foremost evolved from a christian faith… and it should dominate every governmental decision henceforth… ..Sunday did not have any of that. But it did have an interesting biblical focal point. The Sunday rally was all about who and what could be done for our fellow man… Kinda like what we all read in the New Testament… Kinda like the Beatitudes… For me… Sunday refelcted my beliefs, religious, secular, or whatever..

    Monday, Sep 26 @ 9:38 pm
  • Michael

    I feel there should be a age ruling and health issue ruling where an abortion is appropriate. Under 16 and if there is a life threatening issue. Both are or could be health issues. It must be immediately/early in pregnancy! My problem is the pro choice crowd wants a choice at any time during the pregnancy. A 25-30 year old woman at 8 months pregnant decides, “ na I changed my mind I don’t want this anymore. I want to still party and be young.” That’s murder. That is murder plain and simple. It doesn’t matter what you say, what excuses you have, in that situation that is murder. It’s just such a depressing subject because if a fetus has a heartbeat, they are alive. Stopping there little heart is killing them. Tough subject. Very tough. That’s my opinion. I do think it’s incredible they have an abortion rally at a playground. Also I am always amazed at the venom shown when there is prayer at any event. It always shows it’s ugly face.

    Tuesday, Sep 27 @ 7:35 am
  • boohoo

    Once again, if you don’t want an abortion, don’t get one! Just admit that leadership in this country is using religion to manipulate the public into supporting FORCED birth. I promise you all of those leaders’ mistresses will have a safe abortion when they need one but the rest of us will continue to risk jailtime and our own lives to seek treatment.

    Tuesday, Sep 27 @ 8:00 am
  • Dad loves his wife and daughters

    Please remember that IN EVERY STATE, EVERYTIME: any and all abortion laws are/were written and passed by
    legislatures that were overtly and mathematically dominated by males who, conveniently for them, never have to make
    the choice of whether or not to carry a baby.
    Women, please exercise your most important social right and vote in November. Don’t let men control your bodies and your rights.
    Your body, your choice, every time, unequivocally.

    Tuesday, Sep 27 @ 8:11 am
  • frank smith

    So where was the “my body my choice” crowd during the covid nonsense? No problem with gov’t exercising control over female bodies then?
    Holding this rally at a children’s playground is disgusting.
    These people have no shame.

    Tuesday, Sep 27 @ 8:20 am
  • lippy

    The Dems show again what hypocrites they are by saying “my body, my choice” as the government MANDATES we ALL must get the vaccine! SMH

    Tuesday, Sep 27 @ 8:40 am
  • Right Hook

    It’s truly sad to see the divisiveness, hatred and attacks occurring over the issue of LIFE. Calling murdering a preborn life a ‘right’ confirms that liberalism is a mental disorder. Criticizing and mocking people of faith in Christ shows how low some will go in their attempt to justify their position.

    Tuesday, Sep 27 @ 8:57 am
  • Dan

    Does the little baby girl get a choice?

    Tuesday, Sep 27 @ 8:59 am
  • Jeff Walker

    The articulate and well-reasoned replies on display here demonstrate once again the sound logical footing upon which the anti-abortion argument rests.

    Tuesday, Sep 27 @ 9:54 am
  • Beachie Keen

    Wow amazing how many people chime in who do not know or understand reproductive biology- there is no “baby” being murdered

    And the absurd like 8 month pregnancy the laws have historically been choice for up to fetal viability after then its life/health child or mother medical decision

    as well pro-choice is an individual position even republicans get abortions

    Maybe better folk stop using the issue for political fodder and remember pregnancy is a biological event
    BTW abortions occurred unfettered during the FF era even here in NC with country women adept with herbs and other methods for both abortion and birth- they were esteemed in their communities- some maybe even a great grandma

    Tuesday, Sep 27 @ 11:15 am
  • thankful

    I am appreciative that my unwed teenage mother (whose “baby daddy” denied fatherhood) in the 1960s didn’t choose the easy way and abort me.

    Tuesday, Sep 27 @ 12:24 pm