Protesters rally for women's rights at Chattanooga's Coolidge Park after Supreme Court abortion ruling

Over 100 people gathered at Chattanooga's Coolidge Park equipped with signs that featured uteruses and slogans like "Bans off Our Bodies" in protest of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Friday overturning the right to an abortion that had been protected for over 50 years by Roe V. Wade.

"I felt really disheartened and sad," Alisha Leavitt said recalling when she first heard the news earlier that day. "Kind of helpless, honestly. I almost didn't come out tonight because it just doesn't seem like there's much we can do at this point. But I think that's a dangerous way to think."

The protest, organized by the Chattanooga Health Advocacy Team, featured around nine speakers who shared their personal stories with the crowd.

(READ MORE: Tennessee laws to restrict abortion expected to take effect following U.S. Supreme Court ruling)

Mina Dugener, a local health insurance agent, became pregnant 22 years ago while living in Chattanooga. At first, she wasn't sure if she was going to keep the child, she told the crowd.

"The day I decided that I was going to try my best and keep my child, I had a massive hemorrhage miscarriage. And if it weren't for a facility, a tiny, tiny facility in Knoxville two hours away, I would have died because there would not have been anywhere for me to go. This ban will make that a reality every day for people who have an unwanted pregnancy or, heaven forbid, they have a miscarriage," Dugener said.

Kim Osment, who serves on the Chattanooga Health Advocacy Team, said the protest had been planned for a few weeks as the country awaited the Supreme Court's decision.

(READ MORE: Reaction in Tennessee and Georgia from leaders opposing the overturning of Roe v. Wade)

(READ MORE: Reaction in Tennessee and Georgia from leaders welcoming the overturning of Roe v. Wade)

Tennessee passed a law in 2019 called the Human Life Protection Act, which bans abortion in the first and second trimesters. Now that there have been major changes in Roe V. Wade, the law will "trigger" 30 days from Friday.

Heaven Beever, a Chattanooga resident who attended the protest, said she's most afraid of what's next.

"It's scary to not be able to know honestly because we sit here and we have to deal with the fact that, now, many of our rights are being taken away about our bodies," Beever said. "So, what's next? And what's to come? Because they could start taking anything wanted away if they don't care about this specifically."

Contact Carmen Nesbitt at or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @carmen_nesbitt.

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