Oith four years after the first Women’s March, people from across the country have come together to stand up for abortion justice. With the chilling effect left by the Texas abortion ban, complemented by a law enforcement provision and ongoing litigation challenging the constitutional right to abortion established by Roe vs. Wade, people across the country are worried.
But after watching the initial march in Washington, with a critical eye, and later speaking at a Women’s March event, I wondered aloud on Twitter what the point was. walk again? What exactly would be the next steps?
I asked, and the black women answered. Kentucky State Representative Attica Scott responded to the tweet by explaining that residents of her state were organizing against bad bills, pro-choice lawmakers introduced a bill to codify Roe and them. people supported the pro-choice candidates.
Jennifer Driver, senior director of reproductive rights for the State Innovation Exchange, responded that her work appeared to support the efforts of several state lawmakers. Across the country, such as State Representative Park Cannon in Georgia, State Representative Athena Salman in Arizona, and State Representative Stephanie Howse from Ohio.
Tamika Middleton, deputy director of the National March of Women, echoed those sentiments. Speaking to NewsOne, Middleton said it was important that as a national high-profile organization it was important that this year’s march included those on the front lines of the fight to protect and expand the access to abortion.
Leveraging the national platform and visibility of the Women’s March, Saturday’s actions are part of a coalition effort bringing together more than 120 organizations, including leaders directly affected by regressive anti-abortion legislation.
The coalition includes state, local and regional organizations focused on reproductive rights, health and justice. Coalition partners also include gender justice organizations, networks and funds of abortion providers and the abortion providers themselves.
An estimated 650 rallies were held in all 50 states, with some states such as Texas hosting multiple rallies. NPR noted that the steps are advancing of a new session of the Supreme Court. Middleton said the hope is for people to wake up to work to be done in the future.
“We see the steps themselves as an entry point,” Middleton explained. She said the beyond the marches strategy sought to bring people into the larger movement and help them find political homes.
The organizers of this year’s march – working with coalition partners and recognizing that different states may need other requirements and tactics – outlined four common requirements:
Congress must pass the Women’s Health Protection Act – so states can’t rally for the right to abortion when they feel like it – and the EACH Act to end the Hyde Amendment .
Congress must protect and expand the right to vote, because the majority in this country supports abortion, yet our voices are not heard because, too often, our votes are not counted; and because the same communities targeted by abortion bans are targeted by voter suppression.
The Senate must abolish the filibuster. It’s time for Democrats to start acting – and legislating – like the majority in Washington.
Congress must expand the Supreme Court to ensure it is no longer stacked with militant Republican-appointed judges who refuse to uphold precedent and protect the constitutional right to abortion.
“We’re also talking about having a broader conversation about reproductive justice and universal access to all health care,” Middleton explained.
Speaking at the DC march, SisterSong executive director Monica Simpson said the fight for abortion access is a fight against white supremacy. “As black women and people of color, our bodily autonomy is essential to our freedom, ”said Simpson.
A member of the National Coalition, SisterSong is a southern-based reproductive justice organization and a leading organization challenging Georgia’s unconstitutional six-week abortion ban. Bringing the full promise of reproductive justice not just to the south, SisterSong and Simpson continue to challenge the boundaries of mainstream thought around abortion.
“The context in different states is very different,” Middleton continued. “But I think that’s what seems so important about the national coalition is that we can bring all of this thinking on the stage together in one space and organize ourselves.”
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