Women’s March ralliers gather in DC for reproductive rights demonstration

Thousands of people gathered in Washington and in cities across the country Saturday to rally for reproductive rights, one month before the midterm elections.

Around 10:30 am, with blue skies and beautiful fall breezes, hundreds of demonstrators had already collected in Folger Park in DC’s Capitol Hill neighborhood for the Women’s March.

It was part of a “Women’s Wave” day of action, organized by the Women’s March and other organizations, to emphasize to supporters that this year’s midterms are a crucial time to back candidates the movement sees as supporting abortion rights.

“Now, everything feels very much like a fight for everything we love,” said Rachel O’Leary Carmona, the executive director of the Women’s March. “It’s the first election since roe has fallen in this new era of American democracy, and it’s really important that women turn out as a voting bloc.”

In DC, people started gathering at the park ahead of a noon rally. At 1:30 pm, the march was to begin traveling from there to Union Square, near the Capitol Reflecting Pool, according to the Women’s March.

At Folger Park, pop music blared from a sound system as the crowd began gathering near a stage, many hoisting signs — “Abort the court” and “Girls just wanna have fundamental rights.”

Staci Lee, 45, had come from her home in Cuyahoga Heights, Ohio, to be part of the demonstration.

“I’m here to say, ‘Stay out of my uterus,’ ” Lee said. She said what she called the erosion of the separation of church and state was a critical issue for her.

“I don’t know why they are now saying we are a Christian nation,” she said. “We are a melting-pot nation, and putting your religious views on everyone is just wrong.”

Organizers expected 2,000 people at this demonstration, according to a permit issued by the National Park Service.

Comedian and actress Lea DeLaria will emcee the event and artists Milck, BIIANCO and Autumn Rowe will perform.

Nee Nee Taylor, who is a co-conductor for Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, a local Black-led mutual aid and community defense organization, is scheduled to speak at the DC rally.

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. wade, the 49-year-old decision that guaranteed a person’s constitutional right to have an abortion in June, and midterm elections will determine the future of abortion access in states like Pennsylvania and Michigan, where Democratic governors have blocked antiabortion legislation proposed or passed by Republican- led legislatures. The results will also determine which party controls Congress and how much power election deniers could secure in key battleground states ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

On Saturday, there are hundreds of events planned across the country, including in states that have banned or mostly banned abortion, including Arizona, Texas, Louisiana and Idaho, according to the Women’s March. Other organizers include groups like UltraViolet, All* Above All, the National Women’s Law Center, the American Federation of Teachers and local activists.

The first Women’s March, after Trump’s 2016 election, drew millions of protesters to DC and marches like it across the country. Thousands of protesters marched in DC this May following the leaked draft of an opinion by the Supreme Court signaling that it was positioned to overturn roe.

Abortion rights advocates with Our Rights DC, a group that has been organizing protests outside the conservative justices’ homes for months, are planning simultaneous protests on Saturday at 6:30 pm, after the Women’s March, at the homes of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Clarence Thomas, Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

This article will be updated.

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