On Saturday, Oct. 2nd, 2021, San Jose marched to raise awareness for women’s reproductive rights. Demonstrators started at City Hall and made their way around the block chanting and holding signs.
This local rally was a part of a much larger national movement. Other marches took place in every state, with a total of over 600 marches. The marches were in response to the recent passing of an abortion law in Texas, which allows for lawsuits against anyone involved with abortions after six weeks. Making it the most restrictive abortion law in the United States, and after a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court refused to block it.
Across the United States, many states have started restricting access to safe abortions. Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia now have an abortion ban at 20 weeks. These restrictions are not nearly as severe as Texas, but they still greatly limit access to abortions.
At Saturday’s event, Dr. Sophia Yen, CEO and co-founder of Pandia Health, an online birth control provider run by women, spoke with me about the goal for the march. “We are encouraging the President of the United States as well as the leadership that we need to expand the Supreme Court because as it is right now it’s six to three conservative. We shall not overturn Roe V. Wade.”
Roe. V. Wade was passed in 1973, and it made access to safe and legal abortions a constitutional right. Before the passing of Roe. V. Wade, it was up to states to decide if abortion was legal.
At the march, many women dressed up in red dresses with white bonnets, a symbol from Margaret Atwood’s novel “The Handmaid’s Tale.” One woman who dressed up at the march, and referred to herself as June, one of the characters in the novel, described the meaning behind her wardrobe choice. “I represent a woman who is oppressed, in every way, but especially sexually. I don’t have to carry a sign, because this outfit represents what will happen to women in this country if we fail. Complete and total oppression.”
Other messages seen at the march included “My body my choice,” “Bans off our bodies,” and “Texas, where a virus has reproductive rights and a woman doesn’t.”
When asked about the effectiveness of the event, march attendee Katherine Guerra said “We get people to join us, people get involved, people get to see these signs and what we have to say, so it definitely has a big impact on our community.”
The women’s reproductive rights marches have been an annual event since 2016, after the election of former President Donald Trump. Until their message has been heard and changes occur, the marches will continue.
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