Local News

Naked abortion-rights protester disrupts Fourth of July parade in Vermont

"I cannot tolerate my own inaction any longer in the face of the overturning of Roe v. Wade."

Ivan Hennessy walks down Main Street in Brattleboro, Vermont, naked and covered in fake blood, to protest the recent Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, before the start of the Fourth of July parade on Monday, July 4, 2022. Kristopher Radder / The Brattleboro Reformer via AP

Naked and covered in fake blood, an abortion-rights activist reportedly left mouths agape as he joined the Fourth of July parade in Brattleboro, Vermont, on Monday.

Minutes before the parade begun Monday morning, Ivan Hennessy emailed the Brattleboro Reformer and other media outlets to let them know of his plan and what kind of statement he intended to make, the newspaper reported.

“I cannot tolerate my own inaction any longer in the face of the overturning of Roe v. Wade,” Hennessy reportedly wrote in the email. “The Supreme Court’s rejection of medical privacy and bodily autonomy is not the only terrible injustice I’ve seen our government embrace. It is not unique in the magnitude of suffering it brings. But, my own inaction has become unbearable.”


Hennessy hoped his act of protest would draw more attention to the overturning of Roe v. Wade and encourage others to take more action, the newspaper reported.

According to the Reformer, Police Chief Norma Hardy said at a subsequent Select Board meeting that her officers made the decision not to interfere with the protest, noting that they were more concerned about the overall safety of everyone at the event. She pointed to the mass shooting in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park where seven were killed and dozens more injured.

Other parade attendees said they were disturbed by the incident, with Russ Grabiec, a Brattleboro resident who was filming the Independence Day event for the community television station, calling it “traumatizing.”

“He was walking slowly, counter to the parade,” he reportedly said at the meeting. “And if I had do it over again, I would have gone out there and dragged him off and pushed him into a corner. He was trying to make his First Amendment speech and showing off, and it wasn’t much to look at.”

Brattleboro’s public nudity ordinance allows for a $100 fine, which can be reduced to $50, according to the newspaper.

Read the full story at reformer.com.


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