“It is sad that 40 years later we still have to fight for our rights. But it’s a tradition that I want to continue, “Baijal said of the march.
Organizers say the Washington march on Saturday will join hundreds of abortion-related protests across the country. The demonstrations shortly before Start of a new term of office for the Supreme Court, which will rule on the future of abortion law in the United States after the appointment of judges by former President Donald Trump has strengthened conservative control of the Supreme Court.
“Shame, shame, shame!” Protesters sang as they passed the Trump International Hotel on their way to the Supreme Court. Some booed and fisted on the Trump landmark.
The day before the march, the Biden administration urged a federal judge to block the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, banning most abortions in Texas since early September. It is one of a series of cases that will give the nation’s divided Supreme Court an opportunity to confirm or overrule this Roe versus Wade.
Texan law motivated many of the protesters and speakers.
“We will continue to give Texas,” Marsha Jones of the Afiya Center for Black Women Health Care in Dallas promised the crowd in Washington. “You can no longer tell us what to do with our bodies!”
Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood at the national level, told of women forced to drive long hours across state lines – sometimes multiple state lines – to end pregnancies in the weeks since Texas law went into effect.
“The moment is dark … but that’s why we’re here,” Johnson told the crowd that had gathered in Freedom Square and the surrounding streets. With the Supreme Court coming up, “No matter where you are, this battle is now on your doorstep.”
At an independent event in Maine, Republican Senator Susan Collins described Texas law as “extreme, inhuman and unconstitutional” and said she was working to Roe versus Wade the “law of the land”.
She said she was working with two Democrats and one other Republican and they were “reviewing” the language of their bill. Collins declined to identify her colleagues but said the law would be introduced soon.
One opponent of women’s access to abortion called this year’s march theme “macabre”.
“What about equal rights for unborn women?” Tweeted Jeanne Mancini, president of an anti-abortion group called March for Life.
The Women’s March has become a regular event – though interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic – since millions of women showed up in the United States and around the world the day after Trump took office in January 2017. Trump advocated punishing women for abortions and made appointing conservative judges a mission of his presidency.
As the sun set on Saturday, Ramsay Teviotdale of Arlington, Virginia – who, when asked about her age, said she was “old enough to remember when abortion wasn’t legal” – was one of the few to have the hand-knitted pinks Wore wool hats that were distinguished by women in March 2017.
Without Trump as the central figure for women of different political beliefs to band together against, and with the pandemic still going strong, organizers are talking about hundreds of thousands of participants across the country on Saturday, not the millions of 2017.
Teviotdale said that doesn’t diminish the urgency of the moment. “That Texas thing – there is no way it can take it. It’s the thin edge of the wedge, ”she said.
The march is part of a “struggle to secure, uphold and strengthen our constitutional right to abortion,” Rachel O’Leary Carmona, executive director of the Women’s March, said in a statement. “And it’s a battle against the Supreme Court justices, state lawmakers and senators who are not on our side – or who do not act with the urgency this moment demands.”
Latina comedian and activist Cristela Alonzo moderated the rally on Saturday in Washington, where many supporters and providers of access to abortion made speeches. Actress Busy Philipps and swimmer Schuyler Bailar should take part.
Security in the capital was much lower than at a political rally a few weeks ago in support of Trump supporters jailed in the January 6 riot. No fence was erected around the U.S. Capitol and the Capitol Police Chief said there was nothing to suggest the rally on Saturday would turn violent.