Michigan woman visited by police after displaying signs that protested the overturning of Roe v. Wade

First posted August 4, 2022 6:23pm EDT
Last updated August 4, 2022 6:23pm EDT

All Associated Themes:

  • Artistic Expression
  • Legal Action
  • Professional Consequences
  • Protest Politics
Amanda Carravallah poses with one of her signs | source: Brandi Buchman

After a woman in a Detroit suburb posted colorful signs with profane messages protesting the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning the half-century-old precedent guaranteeing women the right to an abortion, she was visited by local police. They cited noise complaints made by neighbors, and gave her notice of a request for a protection order filed by a neighbor. 

Key Player

Amanda Carravallah is a resident of Livonia, Michigan. She made a political sign for a large protest in Detroit, which she later posted alongside others on her front lawn. 

Further Details

Livonia is a suburban town of approximately 95,000 people, located about two miles west of Detroit. 

In Dobbs, the court ruled 6-3 that a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks was constitutional, and that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee abortion rights. This abandoned the 49-year precedent set by Roe v. Wade in 1973 that the Constitution of the United States conferred the right to have an abortion. The decision in Dobbs in effect  devolved decisions about abortion rights to the states.

Carravallah made her first sign on June 24, which she used at a protest in downtown Detroit shortly after the Dobbs ruling was officially announced. Two days later, she placed the sign on her front lawn and began to paint others in the yard, Hometown Life reported. 

The controversy surrounding Carravallah’s signs came just two weeks after Fox 2 Detroit reported that another local woman’s roadside pop-up business selling signs protesting the reversal of Roe had received more than 300 orders.

Carravallah told Hometown Life that police arrived at her home within 90 minutes after she put up her original sign in her yard. The officers said they were responding to a neighbor reporting a disturbance of the peace, citing “loud music.” 

Reports show that police were called three times in the first 24 hours after the first sign went up, with two additional calls over the following days. In each instance, officers responded and while Carravallah was openly playing music, police “never found Carravallah’s music too loud or decided any action needed to be taken,” Hometown Life reported.

Livonia Police Lt. Charles Lister wrote in an email that “officers only addressed the loud music and disturbing the peace complaints. The officers did not address any issues related to the content of signs posted in the yard of the residence,” Hometown Life said. The Daily Kos noted that according to town regulations, Carravallah was legally within her rights to play music from her property between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. 

Carravallah did acknowledge the vulgarity of her signs, but said she felt the matter at hand was important enough to warrant strong language. Daily Kos reported that her signs included messages such as “F*** your God” and “Rage with the vagine.” The signs were accompanied by profane videos and captions on Carravallah’s TikTok account. Daily Kos reported that one of her videos was viewed over five million times. 

Hometown Life reported that an unnamed neighbor filed for a personal protection order against Carravallah effective July 3, 2022, despite this being a step that the Daily Kos noted is usually reserved for stalking and physical safety cases. Often called a restraining order, it usually forbids any contact with the petitioner. 

Carravallah told Hometown Life that in addition to the calls to police and the protection order, she has also been the victim of multiple doxxing attacks, in which private information, such as her address, was posted on public platforms.  


Carravallah elicits support from politicians and ACLU

Carravallah, with help from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan, went to court to file for dismissal of the request for a personal protection order, Hometown Life reported. ACLU attorney Allison Kriger called Carravallah’s protest “classic First Amendment-protected speech” and noted that “even if other people find that expression disagreeable, distasteful, discomforting,” Carravallah had acted within her right to Free Speech.

Cooperating attorney Mark Kriger pointed out that precedent is clearly on Carravallah’s side with regard to profane content, Daily Kos reported. He noted the Supreme Court decision in Cohen v. California, which states that if provocative language cannot reasonably be interpreted to incite violence, it must be permitted.  

Mark Kriger told Daily Kos the legal team was confident the petition would be dismissed, as “the Michigan courts have consistently ruled this is a First Amendment-protected activity.”

Hometown Life also reported that Carravallah has received support from Michigan Democratic Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Debbie Dingell. Carravallah’s personal TikTok following rose by over 50,000 followers after her signs went up. 

As of Aug. 4, 2022, there are no further updates regarding the protection order’s status.