Thousands march in downtown LA against Texas abortion law


Briana Walden

A protester at the front line marches for abortion justice in downtown Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 2, 2021. Rallies took place across the country in response to the Texas Heartbeat Act, which places a ban on providing abortion services in Texas after six weeks gestation. The march began in Pershing Square and ended at the steps of City Hall with thousands in attendance.

Alexia Mersola, Assistant News Editor

Thousands gathered in Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles on Oct. 2 in response to the Texas law that bans abortions as early as six weeks.

The march started at Pershing Square and continued all the way to City Hall, where Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), along with actresses Alyssa Milano, and sisters Patricia and Rosanna Arquette, were among the many who were scheduled to speak.

The Texas bill, which went into effect on Sept.1, was a priority for Republicans back in May. The ban to prohibit abortion at six weeks — which can be before some women even know they are pregnant — makes exceptions for documented medical emergencies, but not for cases of rape or incest.

The law also gives citizens the power to sue abortion providers or anyone who assists a woman in getting an abortion after a heartbeat is detected in the embryo. If the plaintiff wins the lawsuit, they will be awarded at least $10,000, as well as the costs of attorney’s fees.

Emiliana Guereca from Women’s March Foundation said that everyone should understand what it is the organization is fighting for.

“We are fighting for reproductive rights. This isn’t just about abortion reproductive rights, this also means healthcare for women and these laws most negatively affect women who are most vulnerable: Latina and Black women,” Guereca said. “So we must stand up with our sisters in solidarity.”

That same message and spirit is what inspired women to come together and many were excited to march for something that they all felt extremely passionate about. Some were veteran marchers who had participated in the annual Women’s March in the past, while others were marching for the first time.

One of the women at the march, who asked to remain anonymous, described what motivated her to join in on the event.

“Being a woman brought me here today,” she laughed. “You can be anti-abortion if you want, but it’s our choice as women to do what we want with our bodies, and I think that’s what needs to remain solid within all laws, all governments, and all states.”

The woman, surrounded by her supportive friends, said that they were hopeful that the passage of the Texas law would bring out a higher turnout for the march. The group stated that the law passing was what brought them out to the march for the first time, despite the Women’s Marches happening annually since 2017.

The group’s motivation to march stemmed from striving for others’ personal freedom. The women in the group expressed that they were lucky to live in California, where they do not have to worry about a law like the Texas abortion ban. However, they stressed the importance of marching because the law will affect all the women across the United States.

Nate Genung, 36, and Nate, 4, at the march for women’s reproductive rights organized by Women’s March in downtown Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 2, 2021. (Taylor Arthur)

While there were thousands of younger women marching, alongside them were older women who remembered when Roe v. Wade went into effect, legalizing abortion in the United States.

Pat Donnellan expressed disbelief with the current state of women’s rights.

“I can’t believe this is happening again,” said Donnellan, a veteran marcher at the North Hollywood March. “[Roe v. Wade] was overturned in 1973, and here we are in 2021, and I shouldn’t be out here because this shouldn’t be happening again.”

She said her family, her daughter, her granddaughters and their friends have a right to choose.

“I believe that the men who are running the country shouldn’t be saying anything about our bodies ever,” Donnellan said.

Shortly after the Women’s March, a federal district court temporarily halted the enforcement of the bill on Oct. 6. However, the bill was blocked in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Biden administration said on Friday that it will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to block the restrictive Texas law.

It’s unclear how the Supreme Court will rule, as the court upheld the law in a 5-4 vote last month.