On Saturday, Oct. 2, women and men stood along Highways 87 and 260 for the Women’s March on Reproductive Rights, joining more than 90 other organizations nationwide.
Women carried signs that said “My Body My Choice,” “Women’s Rights are Human Rights,” and “Prevent Pregnancy, Prevent Abortion, Get a Vasectomy.”
Participants talked about the new Texas law, Senate Bill 8, banning abortion after six weeks, without regard to rape or incest.
They discussed the fate of the Mississippi law that is coming up before the Supreme Court in the fall, which bans abortion after 15 weeks. This could challenge Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide prior to viability, which can occur at around 24 weeks of pregnancy.
In talking to participants, several stories were told. One registered nurse recalled her experience working in the maternity unit of a Catholic hospital many years ago. She and a medical resident were arguing about the need for abortion when an 11-year-old pregnant girl came into the unit ready for delivery. The girl grasped a teddy bear tightly and screamed, “mommy take away the pain, mommy, take away the pain.” Her mother told the staff that this was a case of incest. Her father had molested and impregnated the girl.
Another participant admitted to having an abortion. She was married with four children, the youngest 2 years old, to an abusive husband, when she found herself pregnant again. She couldn’t bring another child into this relationship and ended the pregnancy, had her tubes tied and got a divorce. It wasn’t a straightforward choice, she said.
One participant said the key to preventing abortion is through sex education. Gila County’s teen pregnancy rate is the highest in the state. The Gila County Health Department’s school health liaison curriculum focuses on confidence building, self-esteem, decision-making, assertiveness, and human anatomy.
The march drew participants from Phoenix, the White Mountains, California and Oregon.