October 2 (WNN) — Fears of losing reproductive freedom following Texas’ abortion ban led to more than 600 marches across the United States on Saturday.
A Texas bill banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which doctors say can happen as early as six weeks after conception, went into effect last month. Activists fear other states will enact their own version of one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.
“We don’t say this lightly: We are at serious risk of losing our reproductive freedom,” Women’s March Tweeted the account. “We all need to fight back. That’s why on October 2 we are marching in every state.”
In Washington, D.C., the “Abortion Justice Rally” began at 1:30 p.m. at Freedom Plaza, with protesters marching to the U.S. Supreme Court.
New Orleans brass band The Soul Rebels and singer-songwriter Adeline performed at Freedom Plaza to energize the crowd ahead of the march.
Latina comedian and activist Cristella Alonzo hosted the rally At Freedom Plaza, along with other speakers from the Coalition for Abortion Justice.
Some other speakers who commented at the DC rally included actress and activist Busy Phillips, best known for her role. Dawson’s Creek, and Schuyler Baylor, an advocate for transgender swimmers and other trans athletes, according to the Women’s March website.
The Women’s March, protesting President Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration, is organizing a march following his comments on a 2005 Access Hollywood tape about “grabbing” women’s genitals and other offensive remarks. CNN noted that more than 90 groups were also involved, including Planned Parenthood, which provides reproductive health care, and the Center for American Progress, a progressive public policy research and advocacy organization.
The National Park Service confirmed to CNN that organizers applied for permits for 10,000 in Washington, much smaller than the 2017 Women’s March Against Trump’s inauguration, which drew more than 450,000 people to the capital.
The Women’s March website said “everyone is required to wear a mask and practice social distancing” amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and urged anyone feeling ill to attend virtual events instead.
A sister rally in Houston announced that Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons head chefSherenduh Tate, executive director of the George Floyd Foundation, and Sabrina Greenlee, a community activist, author and domestic violence survivor, will participate along with local leaders.
CNN reported that counterprotests were also planned, including a DC group called “Take Feminism Back,” which hosted an event to “counter pre-born violence” in the Wisconsin capital, Madison.