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Chicago Women\'s March
Monica Contractor
Culture

My Experience at the Women’s March for Reproductive Rights

The Women’s March for Reproductive Rights, which began in Foley Square and ended in Washington Square Park on Oct. 2, was hosted by Juliet Aguerre and Rose Baseil Massa. One of over 500 sister marches that took place all across the nation, there were several speakers and performers at the NYC march, including Pascale Bernard, Carol Jenkins, Reverend Nori Rost, Brita Filter, Carolyn B. Maloney, and Cathy Rojas.

When I first arrived at  the march, seeing the children carrying pro-choice signs and feeling the sheer number of people around me made me want to cry ugly, loud, body-wracking sobs that break you in two. The second I stepped into the crowd, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride, and a lump formed in my throat in a matter of seconds. I could barely hold my tears back. I couldn’t understand why I was moved to tears. Maybe it was devastation, terror, or hope. But, in those first few minutes, I couldn’t help but feel emotional. 

Through the speeches and rallying cries of the performers onstage, my emotions came to the surface again.  First, I kept thinking about how proud I am to be a woman. Being a woman in my eyes means that I come from a long line of brave ladies who have fought throughout history for the right to be heard and have paved the way for me today.

Secondly, the fear of having my fundamental reproductive rights taken away from me kept bubbling up. The statements from the speakers about how women in Texas must travel 247 miles in order to obtain an abortion, or the statistics about how many women have died from unsafe and botched home abortions, broke my heart and filled me with a sense of urgency I’ve never felt before. At that moment, I knew I had to keep fighting for anyone with a uterus, for myself, and my family members.

When describing how and why the march was organized, one of the hosts, Massa, said “The march was sparked by the six-week abortion ban in Texas, and the reason they chose the date October 2 is because the Supreme Court reconvenes October 4. I got involved because about two weeks ago, my friend Juliet realized that there wasn’t a march planned for New York, and we decided to plan it. We expect 10,000 to attend the march tomorrow.”

According to Massa, the Women’s March for Reproductive Rights had over 100 pro-choice organizations that acted as sponsors. Planned Parenthood was a primary sponsor of the event, as Massa stated, “For this event specifically, Planned Parenthood of New York provided us with a grant to pay for a lot of the things that are needed.”

The goal of the nationwide marches is to ensure that all people, regardless of socioeconomic status, have access to necessary reproductive healthcare. Massa also spoke about the specific demographics disproportionately disadvantaged by anti-choice legislation. “We want to expand access to people who need abortions, particularly to communities that are disproportionally affected by abortion bans. We hope to highlight the communities affected by the abortion ban including communities of color, black and brown people, indigenous communities, LatinX and Hispanic communities, and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities.”

Massa went on to say that “We can’t get abortion justice without half of the population, and furthermore, abortion isn’t an issue that only affects women, it also affects the intersex, trans, and nonbinary communities (essentially, anyone with a uterus). We are looking for people to come together in this fight. We want to amplify the voices you’re hearing and re-distribute money to organizations in Texas that are helping people seek abortion care outside of the state. It’s about our voices and where we’re directing our money and funds.” 

This march was nothing short of electrifying and as a result, I’m filled with a variety of conflicting emotions: sadness, inspiration, fear, and hope. While listening to the speakers, reading signs, and marching alongside women, men, and children, all I could think was, “what a time to be a woman.” As sad as it is to have to protest and scream and fight for autonomy over our own bodies, it’s also incredibly empowering to stand alongside my passionate peers fighting for something I truly believe in.

I go to the Women’s March every year because I believe in a woman’s right to choose and equality for all. We women should have authority over our own bodies, and in my opinion, if you don’t have a uterus then why should you have a say over what I do with mine?The time to fight for abortion rights is now. In over 30 states, including Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, elected officials are threatening reproductive freedom. In my opinion, the right to an abortion shouldn’t even be a political discussion. It’s a personal, fundamental right.

You can help fight to protect our reproductive rights by donating to Planned Parenthood, the Women’s March, and dozens of other human rights organizations. Let’s work together to protect our right to make our own decisions regarding our bodies and help shape the future for generations to come.

I am a student at NYU Gallatin's School of Individualized Study concentrating in theatre, creative writing, and women's studies. I love performing, playing guitar, writing, and advocating for women's rights in my spare time! I love NYU and working with other women to change the world for the better. In addition to writing for Her Campus, I also write articles on my personal website mayamehrara.com.
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