In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, yesterday, a male driver reportedly rammed his truck into a group of women protesting the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The collision sent at least one woman to the hospital. Local police said that they’re investigating the incident.
Police said that an argument broke out between the driver of the truck and a protester before the collision, according to the Washington Post. Witnesses told the Huffington Post that the driver navigated around a line of cars, ran a red light, and plowed into the marchers, running over a woman’s ankle.
Video taken immediately after the incident shows women attempting to stop the truck, which continues to drive forward.
A truck driver plowed through multiple pro-choice protesters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Friday, sending at least one woman to the hospital.
Video provided by Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker shows several victims — all women — trying to stop the driver as he careens into them pic.twitter.com/jcGTcfcK8X
— Andy Campbell (@AndyBCampbell) June 25, 2022
Reporter Lyz Lenz was at the scene of the collision. “There was a moment where I said, ‘I think I’m going to see my friends die,’” she told the Associated Press.
Cedar Rapids Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell issued a statement urging calm and stating that police were investigating. “What we must do as a city is come together, especially in times like these,” it reads. “We all have a right to our opinions, but we must act in a peaceful and respectful manner.”
The demonstration in Cedar Rapids was one of dozens that happened around the country yesterday as people took to the streets to protest the end of Roe v. Wade. Police haven’t said whether the collision was politically motivated, but anti-abortion violence has been on the rise in recent years. According to a report by the National Abortion Federation, assaults against abortion patients and clinics increased by 128 percent from 2020 to 2021.
Last year, in reaction to the George Floyd protests, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law making it legal for drivers to hit protesters with their cars in certain circumstances. It’s unclear whether the law would apply to a situation like the Cedar Rapids ramming incident—it only grants civil immunity to drivers exercising “due care” who hit “disorderly” protesters blocking traffic and doesn’t cover drivers who act with “reckless or willful misconduct.” However, the bill’s detractors have argued that it could send a dangerous message to nefarious actors and have a chilling effect on free speech.