Shannen Greene holds a sign at the Alaska State Capitol during Monday’s anti-abortion rally held by Alaskans for Life Inc. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Shannen Greene holds a sign at the Alaska State Capitol during Monday’s anti-abortion rally held by Alaskans for Life Inc. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Abortion protesters gather at state Capitol

Rally comes after anniversary of now-overturned Roe v. Wade.

This article has been updated to correct that Pastor Eugene Williams is actually the pastor for First Baptist Church and not Douglas Island Bible Church as reported

One day after the 50th anniversary of the now-overturned Roe v. Wade decision, an anti-abortion rally was held on the Alaska State Capitol’s steps.

The rally, organized by the nonprofit Alaskans for Life Inc., was held during the noon hour, and it attracted both anti-abortion and pro-abortion rights protesters as well as several state lawmakers.

“In 1984 President Regan declared Jan. 22, which is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Sanctity of Life Day,” said executive director for Juneau Pregnancy Resource Center Barbara Fiscus, during a speech at the rally. “For the first time, rather than them celebrating the anniversary, we get to celebrate the overturning of that ruling. Juneau Pregnancy Resource Center is a pro life organization, it seems like an obvious thing to say, but what I really mean by that is not just pro-unborn baby, but we really are pro-life, we’re pro-moms, we’re pro-dads, we’re even pro-the people who chose not to keep their babies.”

In Alaska, abortion access is protected by the state constitution. However, legislation or a constitutional amendment restricting access remain goals for many conservative policymakers.

Opening remarks were provided by the President of Alaskans for Life Inc. Ken Mattson followed by an opening prayer from Mike Monagle, deacon for the Juneau Catholic Cathedral. Villame K. performed an opening and closing song for the rally, and Eugene Williams, pastor for First Baptist Church, led the crowd in a closing prayer. Former state Rep.Christoper Kurka, who last year ran an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign, was featured as the rally’s keynote speaker.

“This month commemorates the sanctity of human life month, also this would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade,” said Kurka. “But it’s also the beginning of the legislative session, the first legislative session following Roe vs. Wade decision and it’s kind of a mixed bag for states like Alaska because abortion was legalized, not by the court but by the Legislature. While our courts have been very pro-abortion in Alaska, they’re still standing on a foundation or a platform of Roe vs. Wade that was just demolished, so they have no foundation anymore. It is the duty of the Legislature to protect life; Article 1, Section 1 in the state constitution says in the opening words that, ‘this constitution is dedicated to the principle that all persons have a natural right to life.’”

Not everyone in attendance was there in support of the anti-abortion movement.

At one point during the rally, Juneau resident Donna Belle yelled out into the crowd during Kurka’s speech.

“It’s not murder, it’s health care,” Belle said. “If we don’t have a right to choose then what are we, incubators for you guys? I’m sorry, that’s not OK.”

Others made their opposition to the rally known in less audible ways, like Paul Desloover who held a sign. Desloover said he attended to express his opinion regarding what he feels is a lack of support for social services.

“Generally, I feel that a lot of the people involved with the so-called pro-life movement are also opposed to paying taxes for social services that assist families and children and that’s the main reason that I’m here today, to make them think about that fact,” Desloover said. “I think that’s very important and yet I suspect if you asked a lot of these people, you’d find out that what I just said is accurate.”

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at

Paul Desloover displays a sign in opposition to Monday’s anti-abortion rally at the State Capitol. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Paul Desloover displays a sign in opposition to Monday’s anti-abortion rally at the State Capitol. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of July 20

Here’s what to expect this week.

A U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sitka helicopter hovers over Sitka Sound during routine hoist training. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Lt. Cmdr Wryan Webb)
Yakutat-bound charter flight missing from Juneau

Flight departed from Juneau on Saturday with three people aboard, according to U.S. Coast Guard.

President Biden at the White House on July 3. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
President Joe Biden drops out of race, scrambling the campaign for the White House

Withdraws under pressure from fellow Democrats; endorses Vice President Kamala Harris to take on Trump.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, July 18, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Buttons on display at a campaign event Monday, July 8, 2024, in Juneau, urge supporters to vote against Ballot Measure 2, the repeal of Alaska’s current election system. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Ranked-choice repeal measure awaits signature count after Alaska judge’s ruling

Signatures must be recounted after judge disqualifies almost 3,000 names, citing state law violations.

The offices of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development in Juneau are seen on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska demographers predict population drop, a switch from prior forecasts

For decades, state officials have forecast major population rises, but those haven’t come to pass.

Neil Steininger, former director of the state Office of Management and Budget, testifies before the House Finance Committee at the Alaska State Capitol in January of 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Neil Steininger, former budget director for Gov. Dunleavy, seeking District 1 Juneau Assembly seat

Downtown resident unopposed so far for open seat; deadline to file for local races is Monday.

A mother bear and a cub try to get into a trash can on a downtown street on July 2, 2024. Two male bears were euthanized in a different part of downtown Juneau on Wednesday because they were acting aggressively near garbage cans, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Two black bears in downtown Juneau euthanized due to aggressive behavior around people

Exposed garbage, people insistent on approaching bears contribute to situation, official says

Most Read