The Importance of the Women’s Marches Across the US


Kristina Karelyan

Sign stating “Mind Your Own Uterus”. Photo taken by Kristina Karelyan at the women’s march for reproductive rights in Washington DC.

Ariana Chernis, Reporter

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention”; Something that many signs stated during the women’s marches that took place all across the country on October 2nd, protesting Texas’s restrictions on reproductive rights. Women’s March and more than 90 other organizations, including National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, Planned Parenthood, SHERO Mississippi, Mississippi in Action, Access Reproductive Care-Southeast, The Frontline, Working Families Party, and SisterSong, organized a national call to mobilize and defend reproductive rights. This took place after Texas passed a law making abortions illegal after 6 weeks of pregnancy. The “heartbeat” law was signed by their governor George Abbott.

People marching in Washington DC holding up posters for reproductive rights. Signs reading things like “keep abortion legal”. Picture by Kristina Karelyan.

The Texas Heartbeat Act states that after a heartbeat becomes detectable, at six weeks gestation, performing or inducing an abortion would be made a criminal offense. This puts serious restrictions on women’s reproductive rights and gives the government more power over what goes on in a woman’s body. Six weeks gestation means only 2 weeks after a missed period. By this time most women don’t even realize they’ve gotten pregnant and every situation is different. Women and people everywhere protested because this act grabs at power and fails to consider that it is not a one-size-fits all situation. Every single person has different circumstances and now in Texas women are being forced to carry out the pregnancy, give birth to a child, and make sure this child is being raised in one way or another,either as a part of  their family, through adoption, or foster care. Any of these decisions are impossible to make.This law dictates what happens before most women even know they’re pregnant, but fails to think about what will happen after birth. Additionally, it really does not stop abortions like it’s aimed to do, it just stops the safe ones. Women will travel out of state or perform clandestine abortions which can be extremely unsafe. It’s clear to see why so many people are outraged about this law.

Texas has been attempting to pass this bill for years. Several Republican states have attempted to impose further restrictions on abortion over the decade. Although these attempts have been blocked in the past, the Supreme Court is now the most right-leaning it has been since the 1930s. 

A sign in Washington DC stating, “Abortion is a Personal Decision not a Legal Debate”. Picture by Kristina Karelyan.

 After being so devastated and outraged, women banded together and invited everyone to work united and build a better future. The turnout at the marches was massive with most of the crowd chanting and holding self-made signs. Signs read things like, “Our Bodies, Our Choices, Our Rights”, “Your Reason is the Right Reason”, “We Stand With Texas Women”, “My Body My Choice”, “Abortion is a Women’s Right”, “We Are Not Obligated to Bear Your Children”, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun-damental Human Rights”, and so many more.

A college student who attended the march in Washington DC told me, “It was really fun. It was frustrating when I got to the capitol and saw the pro-lifers, especially the women pro-lifers. Regardless, it was an amazing experience and I would do it again.”

In a protest there will always be two sides, which can be frustrating when people are so passionate about what they are fighting for, but these protestors stayed peaceful and professional despite what was going on around them.

Pro-lifers are people who believe that abortions should be illegal and that people shouldn’t be able to choose abortion under any circumstances. They disagree with most medical authorities and believe that life starts with the fertilization of the egg. Pro-lifers want women to carry to term no matter the circumstance. They hope to overturn Roe v. Wade, making abortions illegal. Most pro-lifers’ argument is rooted in religious belief, but not everyone follows the same religion or even follows a religion at all.

A sign at the march reads “girls just wanna have fundamental HUMAN RIGHTS”. Picture by Kristina Karelyan.

There are many circumstances in which people might need an abortion or even just choose one because it is their body. That’s what people were fighting for in these marches.

Regardless, the outpouring of support for revoking this law was extremely moving and inspirational. The way that people all over the country banded together in support of women in Texas, and women everywhere, was heartwarming. These marches showed that women are in fact capable of making their own decisions, they can decide what to do with their bodies, and they want to be treated as a person, with a brain and a heart, who deserve rights. 

Thanks to the volume of the marches and the loud voices of women everywhere, the bill was recently paused by a federal judge. A federal judge on Wednesday granted the Justice Department’s request to halt enforcement of the recently passed Texas law while the legal battle over the law makes its way through the federal courts. This isn’t what it should be, this law never should have been passed in the first place, but it is progress. It really shows that everyone’s voices mattered in this case. The women’s marches made a real difference.