Mass of celebration, protest for rights show deep divisions in abortion rights debate
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- As the Roe v Wade impact continues to reverberate, some people are looking to the future while also coping with the shock of the decision.
Both pro-life and pro-choice advocates are starting to look ahead to a post-Roe world in Wisconsin.
Thursday the Archdiocese of Milwaukee celebrated a special mass in recognition of the overturning of Roe v Wade. At the same time, dozens of young people protested to decry a loss of reproductive rights.
They were two very different settings, reflecting two very different positions.
In Brookfield, Archbishop Jerome Listecki told the congregation at St. Dominic, "We are here to give thanks. This was not a victory, it was a correction."
Archbishop Listecki celebrated a day he said many were not sure would ever come. He said, "We've done masses before in remembrance, but this one carries with it a little more significance."
The Archbishop called the Supreme Court's decision "corrective", adding, "I don't think a right has been taken away because that right is at least hasn't been insured by the Constitution."
His homily focused on thanksgiving for the fall of Roe v Wade, remembrance of the lives impacted by abortion, and a renewed commitment to changing hearts and minds.
And he said, "Any of you attended the pro-life marches in Washington DC, they're young people. They're young people."
But many young people also fiercely support reproductive rights. As the congregation took communion in church, young people took to the streets in downtown Menomonee Falls.
Protest co-organizer Kylie Kenny said, "I think it's really unfortunate we have to be here doing this in the first place, but I think it brings a lot of comfort and peace, especially to us protesters knowing they are not alone in their feelings."
Several hundred people rallied for more than an hour.
The effort was organized by high school students and recent graduates. Kenny said, "I hope it surprises people because I think the young people right now are going to be the people to change everything for the better."
The student co-organizers say everyone is impacted by reproductive rights, or will be soon.
But "many of us cannot vote. I cannot actually vote in the next election," said co-organizer William Gottemoller.
So they're trying to reach the people who can vote. Gottemoller said, "If they have the empathy and the belief, they will vote for people who believe in women's rights, believe in human rights."
The crowd was mostly teens, but throughout the evening they were joined by an increasing number of adults and supported by countless drivers passing by.
And as the evening wound down, everyone gathered Thursday -in church and in the streets- tried to look ahead to what comes next.
At the Catholic mass, a second collection was taken to distribute money to crisis pregnancy centers, though the medical community has warned of their unethical and deceptive practices.
The protesters in Menomonee Falls said they want to protest every week until Election Day.