Women’s March holds national rally on Roe’s 50th anniversary

On Sunday, the 50th anniversary of Roe v., activists in dozens of cities across the country rallied in support of abortion rights with signs reading “Abortion is health care” and counter-chants. Wade, the Supreme Court reversed a landmark decision that struck down the constitutional right to abortion.

The events, expected to draw thousands from Honolulu to Hartford, constitute the latest installment of the Women’s March, which began in 2017 following the election of President Donald J. Trump. They were closely following the March for Life on Washington, the annual anti-abortion demonstration that turned Friday into a victory rally celebrating Roe’s rollback.

In Texas, which pioneered a strict abortion ban even before Roe fell, marchers gathered at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza in downtown Dallas. In Boston, people rallied for abortion rights in Boston Common, the nation’s oldest public park. In Florida, which bans abortion after 15 weeks, a dozen events were scheduled.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at an event hosted by Planned Parenthood in Tallahassee, Fla. In her speech, Ms. Harris denounced “extremist” Republicans and “so-called leaders” in Florida for restricting abortion and creating rules that would force health care providers “to risk jail time just for their jobs.”

She said President Biden signed a memorandum directing government agencies to assess how the federal government can remove legal barriers to providing abortion drug prescriptions.

“Let’s not get weary or discouraged,” Ms. Harris said. “Because we’re on the right side of history.”

The parade is seen as a way to attract new activists and galvanize their ranks for the long fight ahead, as well as veterans like 82-year-old Diana Wiener, who showed up at the New York City event with a handcrafted sign In the five years she has led the protests. The sign read “Never Again”.

Mrs. Wiener said she had an illegal abortion in the Bronx in 1959, in Roe v. Wade — an experience that fueled her outrage at the Supreme Court overturning the decision and concern that too few young women were getting involved in the fight for women’s rights.

“They didn’t know what was going on – we really didn’t have contraception,” she said. She added that the court’s decision “does not stop abortions, it just kills women”.

In Madison, Wisconsin, thousands of women in thick coats and pink hats marched down State Street during the day’s big event, which quickly doubled in numbers despite temperatures as high as 26 degrees, and then again. tripled. Among the protesters was Kim Schultz, 63, a first-time Women’s March marcher who said she felt compelled to go there after losing Roy’s protection.

“It’s unbelievable,” she said. “It’s so far, or a step backwards. I’m shocked and angry that we can go back like this.”

National organizers of the Women’s March said their emphasis on widespread local action — about 200 planned in 46 states — reflected the recent loss of federal protections and the current primacy of state politics.

“The fight at the federal level has gone nowhere,” said Rachel O’Leary Carmona, executive director of the Women’s March, an advocate for the first march. “The battleground has shifted from what the state preserves to what is being destroyed. All the fights for the next few years will be fought at the state level.”

Anti-abortion activists have appeared at more than one event. In Dallas, a middle-aged man dressed in white blasted gospel music into a microphone splattered with red in an apparent attempt to imitate blood. In Madison, a pay counter protester held up a sign with what appeared to be images of fetal tissue. Marchers scrambled to cover his sign with Black Lives Matter flags.

Michelle Anderson, 52, who participated in the Dallas march, said black women always have to fight harder for their right to control their bodies, even before Roe was reversed. “White women won’t do what they’re supposed to do — they’re too afraid to vote against their privilege — so we’re going to keep putting up with this until they do,” she said.

Tamika Middleton, managing director of the Women’s March, said many of the local campaigns were led by fledgling activists with little or no experience, which provided “an opportunity for them to participate in the movement and deepen their connection to the movement.” An important opportunity for political relations”. “We want to make the barriers to activism very low and let them cross.”

She said the group plans to build on that, as it has done following past actions, engaging budding activists in ongoing conversations and offering training and mentoring to develop their skills and build lasting networks.

“It’s very important to build the infrastructure in the states now for an election that’s two years away,” she said. Middleton said.

First Women’s March on January 1st. 21st, 2017, the second day of Mr. Trump’s inauguration drew millions to the streets of Washington and other cities across the country and around the world to protest misogyny and defend reproductive and civil rights. The global event once again attracted strong attendance in January 2018, but attendance declined in 2019 after some leadership was accused of anti-Semitism.

The coronavirus pandemic has further limited the Women’s March’s ability to hold events and draw crowds. But organizers say an infusion of new energy has propelled it forward since the shocking Roe decision, with a strong performance at an event in May after the court ruling was leaked and made public, and again in October to fight for Support the eve of the midterm elections.

Organizers narrowed the focus of Sunday’s march from broad feminist causes to fighting for abortion rights. They are particularly focused on events in Madison, where special elections are expected in April that could change the composition of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and help determine whether abortion is allowed in the future.

Start your speech in Madison, ma’am. Middleton, the managing director of the Women’s March, dismissed the idea of ​​activists mired in grief.

“The other side thinks we should mourn today,” Ms Zhang said. Middleton said, drawing boos from the crowd. “They don’t know us. Today we remind them that our fight is never just for Roy – our fight is for total reproductive freedom.”

Not all women’s rights groups are planning marches. In Los Angeles, Emiliana Guereca, founder of the Women’s March Foundation, an independent nonprofit, said it would instead host a screening of the documentary “The Janes,” followed by a panel discussion.

This HBO documentary spotlights the women activists who banded together to form Jane, a secret society, in Roe v. Wade.

“We need to march to state legislators’ offices, not on weekends,” she said. “Get them involved and talk to them about what they’re doing to protect reproductive rights,” Guereca said.

In downtown Atlanta, at an event held by the NAACP and other groups to mark Roe’s anniversary, but not related to the Women’s March, dozens held posters that read, “Regulate Guns, Not Women.” ’ and “Repeal Georgia’s Abortion Ban.” The state bans abortions after six weeks — before many women realize they’re pregnant. Sunday’s turnout was significantly smaller than the parades held over the summer, when thousands marched through the city following Roe’s reversal.

Peyton Hayes, an organizer with the Socialist and Liberation Party, said the reduced crowds did not mean anyone had given up. Going forward, she said, activists need to pressure Republican-controlled state legislatures to end abortion bans.

In New York City, as protesters snaked down Broadway, chanting and dodging pedestrians, Bruna Monia, 35, recalled the first time she heard Roe being shot. Cried when overthrown. Mrs. Monia, who welcomed her first child Alice 18 months ago, said she was fighting for her daughter’s rights and her own.

“She should have the right to choose what she does with her body,” she said.

Tia Kvetnadze, Sean KeenanDeah Berry Mitchell and vic jolly Contribution report.

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