Philly 2021 Women's March tackles reproductive rights head on
In Philadelphia, a crowd of about 1,000 turned out on Saturday afternoon on Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the Bans Off Our Bodies March
On Saturday, Oct. 2, tens of thousands of women across the country marched to protest the increasing restrictions on abortion access, with a total of 660 demonstrations in all 50 states.
— Janelle Bludau (@JanelleKHOU) October 2, 2021
In Washington D.C, protesters filled the streets surrounding the Supreme Court, chanting “my body, my choice,” and cheering loudly to the beat of drums.
Many protesters carried signs that read, “mind your own uterus,” “I love someone who had an abortion,” and “abortion is a personal choice, not a legal debate.”
Some wore T-shirts reading “1973,” referencing the year that the landmark Roe V. Wade decision was made, which made the procedure legal for generations of American women.
“No matter where you live, no matter where you are, this moment is dark,” Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood, told the crowd at the rally in D.C.
Saturday’s demonstrations occurred two days before the start of a new term for the Supreme Court, which is scheduled to consider a Mississippi case that could allow them to overturn the abortion rights established in Roe v. Wade.
In New York, Governor Kathy Hochul spoke at rallies in Seneca Falls and Albany, expressing frustration and exhaustion over having to fight for these rights.
“It’s settled law in the nation and you are not taking that right away from us – not now, not ever,” she said.
At the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, Democratic state Representative Melody Hernandez told participants that abortion opponents encouraged by the recent developments in Texas and the Supreme Court will not be successful.
— Arizona House Democrats (@AZHouseDems) October 2, 2021
“An overwhelming majority of Arizonans, of Americans, support everything we are standing here for today,” Hernandez said. “And don’t let anyone fool you – we are the majority. We are made of people from all walks of life, ethnicity, party, nationality.”
In Philadelphia, a crowd of about 1,000 turned out on Saturday afternoon on Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the Bans Off Our Bodies March. The rally was planned by Kelly Kostelich, a therapist at Jefferson, and Benjamin Abella, a physician at Penn Medicine.
Though the main focus of the march was to highlight legal threats to Roe v. Wade, Kostelich and Abella also wanted a call to action on a related issue.
In an interview with WHYY News prior to the event, Kostelich said that while Roe is important to keeping abortion legal, it doesn’t help make it more accessible and affordable.
“There’s still a lot of barriers to health care. So we’re trying to bring awareness to that,” Kostelich said.
Katie Koob, an 18-year-old Philadelphia resident, questioned the framing of some anti-abortion rhetoric during a global pandemic.
“They’re the ones who also don’t wear a mask. So like, if you’re pro-life, then how the hell are you like not gonna wear masks and then cause like the deaths of other people from COVID. It just makes me mad,” Koob told WHYY.
A number of medical professionals in the region also gathered for the event, such as Dr. Jessica Chen, a resident physician in obstetrics and gynecology at Penn Medicine.
Chen, who was born and raised in Texas, delivered remarks to the crowd.
“My colleagues in Texas are fighting to regain the same opportunity with the passage of S.B. 8, which as many of you may have heard has banned abortion after six weeks, before most even know they’re pregnant. This is essentially a ban on all abortion in Texas. I want to point out an important reality: It is a very real possibility that the same could happen here,” Chen said.