MEMPHIS — One of Tennessee’s most tireless advocates on the front lines for reproductive rights will begin a 538 mile trek across the state on Monday, Sept. 26 to have deeper conversations about abortion rights.
“I think people are still processing what it means that Roe fell, and that the government can now force you to give birth,” said Francie Hunt, executive director of Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood, who will begin walking from Memphis to Johnson City Monday. “Almost no one expected this to actually happen and the majority of Tennesseans want abortion to remain legal. This pilgrimage is about demonstrating devotion to the concept of bodily sovereignty, meeting people where they are and beginning a journey together toward a more compassionate approach to abortion rights.”
Walk for Our Lives begins at 8:30 a.m. at 835 Virginia Run Cove in Memphis outside a Planned Parenthood health center, and will conclude in Johnson City on Nov. 14. Key stops include public events in Nashville Oct. 16 and Knoxville on Nov. 3.
Harkening back to Lamar Alexander’s 1978 walk across Tennessee, Hunt will be the first woman of color to walk across the state of her own volition, not to discount those who traveled the Trail of Tears.
A long-time professional advocate for children and families, Francie Hunt held leadership roles at Stand for Children and Walk Bike Nashville, before joining Planned Parenthood because she believes “planning your parenthood is what’s best for children.”
As an advocate for abortion rights, Hunt has been a presence at the Tennessee state legislature for nearly a decade. At the height of the pandemic in Summer 2020, she was arrested for civil disobedience in the TN Senate chamber when lawmakers unexpectedly passed a statewide ban on abortion without exceptions in the middle of the night.
“There’s a disconnect in Tennessee between what people say they want and how they’re voting,” Hunt said. “When you get out there and talk to people, almost everyone wants the government out of the exam room, but they either don’t know what their state lawmakers are doing or they never expected them to follow through. This moment calls for slow and steady leadership to bring people together on a path to restoring abortion rights.”
For more information about how to get involved with Walk for Our Lives, visit bit.ly/walkacrosstn.