Signal Tribune: Hundreds march through Downtown Long Beach in support of reproductive justice

October 02, 2021


A march for reproductive justice attracted hundreds to the George Deukmejian Courthouse this morning as protesters chanted their way through Downtown Long Beach towards Harvey Milk Promenade Park.

The protest came just a month after Texas legislators passed Senate Bill 8, a restrictive law that prohibits abortions after six weeks—before many women know they are pregnant—and created financial incentives to turn in people who acted in support of these abortions.

The Supreme Court, stacked with conservative justices, refused to block the bill after it passed.

“You’re all here because we understand the gravity of the Supreme Court’s inaction in September, ” said Vin Olefer, an organizer with the Democratic Socialists of Long Beach. “As we’ve come out today, we’ve refused to be defeated by our political foes and those who wish to control our lives and control our bodies.”

Protesters carried signs donning the words, “Vasectomies prevent abortions,” “Coronavirus has more reproductive rights in Texas than women do,” and “The courts don’t decide our destiny, we do!” 

As hundreds made the 0.5-mile trek along the sidewalk from the courthouse to Harvey Milk Promenade Park, they were led in chants like “Who sent us? Ruth sent us!”—a nod to late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—and “Who’s choice? Our choice!” 

The crowd was met with encouragement from cars along Ocean Avenue who honked their horns in solidarity. 

“We’re here today because what’s happening is no more than a brutal attack on women,” former Councilmember Jeannine Pearce said. “It’s state-sanctioned violence. Dismantling Roe v. Wade is about violence and oppression on women’s bodies.”

Roe v. Wade was a landmark decision by the Supreme Court in 1973 that protects womens’ personal liberty to have abortions. 

When the crowd arrived at the park, local politicians and advocates took to a stage and shared their support for reproductive justice—an all-encompassing term that includes access to safe abortion, affordable contraceptives, sex education and the right to choose whether to be a parent. 

“Let me give you some numbers, my friends, to give you the gravity of what we’re dealing with: 7,000, 600, 48, 1,300 and zero,” State Senator Lena Gonzalez said.

She continued: 7,000 for the number of women who fled other states to get an abortion in California; 600 for the number of pieces of anti-choice legislation that went through 47 states this year alone; 48 for the number of years women have been fighting for abortion rights; 1,300 for the number of pieces of anti-choice legislation that have passed since 1973.

“And zero is for what my friends?” Gonzalez asked the crowd. “Zero effing tolerance here in California.” 

Similar protests for reproductive rights took place in cities across Southern California today, including Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Pasadena, Irvine and Fountain Valley.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments against Roe v. Wade this coming December in relation to a 2016 Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks.

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