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[COMMENTARY] Thousands Gather Across the Country for Women’s March 2021

The 2021 Women’s March, also known as the Rally For Abortion Justice, took place in all 50 states on Saturday, with hundreds of thousands of people participating in the 540 official marches across the country. Intentionally scheduled just ahead of the Supreme Court’s new session that will begin on Monday, the March focused on reproductive rights as a response to the near ban on abortions in Texas, which took effect on September 1st. The law bans abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, which is normally around six weeks into pregnancy. It also bans the use of pregnancy-ending drugs after the seventh week of gestation.

Nearly five years after the first Women’s March to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump, the 2021 Women’s March was organized by dozens of groups including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Service Employees International Union, and Abortion Care Network.

 

“We are witnessing the most dire threat to abortion access in our lifetime,” the Women’s March Network said on its website, noting the Supreme Court’s recent refusal to block Texas’ 6-week abortion ban. “We need to send an unmistakable message about our fierce opposition to restricting abortion access and overturning Roe v. Wade before it’s too late.”

COVID safety was the top priority at every Women’s March event. Those attending the march were required to wear face masks, encouraged to social distance, and had access to hand sanitizer stations along their routes. Volunteers also handed out hand sanitizer along with signs and swag reading BANS OFF OUR BODIES. At the flagship event in Washington, DC, Speakers at the event included swimmer Schuyler Bailar, activist Monica Simpson, President and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health Dr. Jamila Perritt, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Alexis McGill Johnson among others.

Celebrities, politicians, and others shared their messages online of why they were marching.

 

I attended the Women’s March in Vancouver, Washington, where there’s usually a very heavy MAGA presence at any liberal protest or event. Our event was a car rally, which gave us an added layer of protection from any potential counterprotesters. I was so encouraged by the massive turnout that filled three parking lots at Clark Community College. We lined up our vehicles and everybody walked around taking pictures of each other’s signs and rides.

Our instructions were simple: follow the route, drive safely, wear your mask if you leave your vehicle for any reason, and ignore anyone who might be counter-protesting. I’m delighted to report that I saw only one man shaking his head from the front seat of his car as he passed me going in the other direction. There were plenty of people in downtown Vancouver enjoying one of the last rain-free Saturdays of the year, and the majority of them waved and clapped as our long procession took over Main Street. We honked either in unison, in patterns, or just to get attention.

It only took an hour or so to drive the full circuitous route, and then we were free to enjoy the rest of our day. I might keep my car decorated for a little longer, though. And I’m definitely keeping the mask.

 



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