On Saturday, Oct. 2, people from all over the nation and in Santa Barbara County marched in solidarity with those fighting for reproductive rights in Texas.
On Sept. 1, the Texas state government approved a bill stating that within six weeks of pregnancy, abortion would be illegal. This decision was made in a 5-4 majority ruling by the United States Supreme Court, which includes several of former President Donald Trump’s appointees.
Though the legislation does not directly affect Californians, women country-wide wanted to show support for their sisters in Texas. Students from UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) even demonstrated at the protest to advocate for women’s reproductive rights.
“I hope the protest will show that the legislation in Texas isn’t going to just be ignored. There’s also a ton of students at the march so I’m hoping that the event will encourage more people to be vocal about issues like these,” UCSB student Olivia Mihos says, expressing her concern about the future. “The bill is really scary because it puts a lot of laws and even our ideas about abortion access in jeopardy, especially with the upcoming December hearing.”
Despite the music and hopeful atmosphere, it appeared that other attendees at the event felt the overwhelming anxiety that the people in California may soon face the same fate as those in Texas.
“As much as California is very liberal,” Philippa Villalobos, president of the Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA) nonprofit organization stated, “we still see a lot of hard situations where people in marginalized communities such as people of color, LGBTQ+, low-income people, have less access to these resources. So it’s important that even people in California look for ways to improve that access.”
Attendees raised their signs participating in a battle with those they may never meet. Many proudly held posters reading “My body, my choice.” Some held posters depicting coat hangers tapped around the edges of a cardboard sign with a message “not going back to this.”
“We will engage in a peaceful protest!” a representative from the Planned Parenthood center shouted into a sea of pink shirts.
The protest began in the heart of Downtown Santa Barbara at Casa de la Guerra. Protestors marched for 10 minutes to the Santa Barbara courthouse, where people engaged in lively song and dance while shouting chants such as, “laws off of my body.’’ California Senator Monique Limon spoke at the protest to show her support for the movement, sharing a story about how a woman in Texas was forced to deliver a child, despite the pregnancy’s fatal complications.
“[I’m talking about] the woman who is putting her life at risk. Who has a child, that baby, who is, the doctors had said, doesn’t have any chance of survival. So those are the situations. We also have to make sure that people know that this is real.” Senator Monique Limon said.
Overall, the mission of the Women’s March resonated with millions of Americans as protestors nationwide embarked on marches throughout several metropolitan cities.
“That’s what’s at stake, it’s elevating those stories. Making sure that we vote to support legislation and elected leaders who will stand with the seventy percent of Californians who say it’s important for women to have the right to make reproductive decisions about their bodies.”