On October 2, the official chapter of the National Women’s March in association with Planned Parenthood South Texas, Urge, AVAW, Lilith Fund, Southwest Workers Union, Martinez Street Women’s Center, Texas Organizing Project, and Indivisible and National Council of Jewish Women entered an estimated 3,000 Protesters in San Antonio in a nationwide “Ban Off Our Bodies” women march.
The protest was intended to mobilize a person’s physical autonomy and the right to have access to abortion. More specifically, the demonstration was a direct retaliation against SB8. The law prohibits abortions after six weeks of gestation, makes no exceptions for rape or incest, and is considered one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country. After the passage of SB8, Texas also passed SB4, a law that restricts abortion pills by mail order.
The organizers asked the participants to wear orange. The color became synonymous with the ongoing struggle for access to safe and legal abortion in Texas after Wendy Davis blocked filibusters for thirteen hours against SB 5, another restrictive Texan anti-abortion law.
As part of the demonstration, testimonials were heard from several pro-choice organizations, including members of Planned Parenthood, poet Diamond Mason, abortion storyteller Vanessa Martinez, board members of the Lilith Fund and members of the Texas Organizing Project.
On the list of speakers was former UTSA student Kimaya Factory, founder of the Black Freedom Factory, a grassroots organization that advocates justice and diversity in the community and in the workplace. In her remarks to the demonstrators, she stressed the importance of having access to abortion, especially in the case of rape or incest.
“We have a right to abortion, especially in rape and incest cases, because survivors are important,” said Kimaya. “Our body is important, our decisions are important. It is ridiculous that a state precedent has been overridden Roe versus Wade which was enshrined in law to protect our body. It is ridiculous that people like Greg Abbott, the governor of LT and lawmakers continue to show us that our voices do not matter and that democracy is not based on the values of the autonomy of our bodies. “
Factory also mentioned the importance of voting and how much effort it would go to so that others could have access to safe abortions.
“We’re here today to say we don’t care about your legislation, we don’t care about your misogynistic, patriarchal values because we’re going to move up,” Factory said. “We’re going to get up and we’re going to fight and we’re going to register every voter and we’re going to cross survivors across state lines if we have to to get access to abortions … we’ll get up, so thank you for being out here.”
Finally, what she said touched on the importance of seeing and helping survivors of sexual assault.
“If you’ve had an abortion, I love you and I stand up for you, and I believe in you, we all believe in you,” Factory said. “If you are a rape and sexual assault survivor, you are important, your story is important, your life is important, your struggle is important. No rapist, no law can take that away from you. “
The women’s march takes place days before a new Supreme Court term begins, a session that could determine the constitutionality of abortion law in the nation.