Nationwide marches for reproductive justice

November 11, 2021

From the November-December 2021 issue of News & Letters

One of the thousands of abortion rights marchers in Chicago making the point that the Texas law has no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. Photo: Terry Moon for News & Letters

Chicago—The Women’s Marches, held in over 650 places across the country on Oct. 2, made it clear that women in the U.S. are continuing to fight back against the inhuman anti-abortion legislation that has been surging across Republican-dominated statehouses for years. The last straw was Texas’ fanatical law empowering anyone—including a woman’s rapist, abuser, stalker, or a stranger—to sue any person who helps a woman get an abortion in Texas if she is over six weeks pregnant and collect a $10,000 bounty for their cruelty.

In Chicago, 4,000-5,000 and marched downtown, a crowd so large that it could not be contained in Daley Plaza—this, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The crowd was diverse with those who lived through the time when abortion was illegal and know first-hand the deadly consequences for women, together with those whose entire lives so far have been lived when abortion was technically legal—although progressively becoming impossible for women to access, especially poor women.

MULTIPLE MARCHES IN MANY STATES

Illinois women marched in other cities too, including the capital, Springfield, where hundreds rallied at the Old State Capitol square. The rally and march in Washington, D.C., was probably the largest. There, protesters amassed in Freedom Plaza and then marched to the Supreme Court building to rally and drive home the alarm and anger that what has become a reactionary majority court allowed a clearly unconstitutional law to be enforced.

Los Angeles saw thousands marching and chanting through downtown to rally at City Hall, where one chant was: “Only revolution can make women free!” In San Francisco, thousands marched down Market Street. New York’s demonstration also drew thousands, who marched to Foley Square across the Brooklyn Bridge. Protesters in Tallahassee and Fort Pierce, Fla., worried about the Texas copycat bill filed in the Republican-controlled legislature. They marched with signs saying, “Don’t Texas my Florida!”

While the feeling at the demonstration in Chicago was upbeat because it just felt so good to be coming together and letting the world know the anger, passion and determination women have about having control over our own bodies and lives, few of us were under any illusions that this alone will convince the misogynist right-wing Supreme Court justices to actually follow their own precedent of 50 years of legal abortion in the U.S. The Los Angeles demonstrators were right: “Only revolution can make women free!” Let’s hope the Women’s Marches are part of creating that new reality.

—Terry Moon

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