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Thousands of women are marching now in Southern California as abortion-rights showdowns loom

Thousand of women have begun marching in Southern California as part of a nationwide myriad of  “sister marches,” spinoffs of the fifth annual Women’s March in Washington D.C. today.

Local protesters joined activists in at least 600 marches across the nation, aiming to decry a restrictive Texas abortion law and draw attention to an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision on Mississippi’s abortion laws — a case that pro choice advocates fear could overturn Roe v. Wade.

“I would rather be home in bed frankly, but once again a bunch of people have decided they think know what the’re going to do with my body,” said Sarah Bradshaw, who was helping to lead the march beginning in Los Angeles’ Pershing Square  Saturday morning. “It’s the same stuff, decade after decade after decade. But now the Supreme Court has swung and we’re not going to put up with it. Our bodies are on the line.”

As the Pershing Square march got going, chants were already echoing in Downtown L.A.,  at 5th and Hill streets,  with groups carrying large signs and banners.

“Only revolution can make women free,” rang one refrain, as they prepared to make their way to City Hall.

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The marches trace their roots to protests that arose after President Donald Trump’s election, but these will be the first since he left office. During his tenure, key Supreme Court appointments shifted the court into a conservative direction and the table for abortion-rights showdowns in years to come.

In Southern California, the largest protest is planned in Los Angeles, a gathering that has typically drawn thousands of people. But demonstrations are planned throughout the region, from Orange County to the Inland Empire, from Redondo Beach to the San Gabriel Valley.

Demonstrations were expected in Riverside, Temecula, Redlands Pasadena, Beverly Hills, Long Beach, Malibu, North Hollywood, Redondo Beach, San Pedro, Simi Valley, Westchester and West Hollywood. And there are more: map.womensmarch.com/.

Some of these rallies were planned by larger women’s or political groups, but others are more grassroots, including those planned by individuals who say they feel a responsibility to protect the futures of young women and teach them about the importance of reproductive rights.

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“Abortion care is a critical component of healthcare. It needs to be equitable and accessible for everyone regardless of their socioeconomic status,” said state Sen. Lena Gonzales, who was expected to participate in the Long Beach event. Her district encompasses parts of Long Beach and the South Bay. “California has been a leader in reproductive freedom and we will continue fighting these national attacks that threaten the quality of life for so many in our state and country.”

“This is not just for us. It’s for our children and our children’s children,” Emiliana Guereca, president of the Women’s March Foundation, said in an emailed statement. “It’s beyond time for the United States to recognize that access to abortion care is a key part of access to human rights.”

Opponents of legal abortions have won significant victories in court and in houses of government in recent months.

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A recent Texas law banned abortions after six weeks, which is when healthcare providers can detect a fetal heartbeat but before most women know that they’re pregnant. It has been described as the strictest abortion law since the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade in 1973, and it provides no exceptions for victims of rape or incest.

The law also allows state residents to sue medical clinics, doctors, nurses and people who drive women to get an abortion for damages of up to $10,000. The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to keep the law in place, though the reasoning from the majority was one of standing.

And in December, the conservative-leaning Supreme Court will hear arguments from Mississippi lawmakers who want to ban abortions in that state after 15 weeks.

In Los Angeles, a collection of Downtown streets were scheduled to be closed for the march, which was set to wind from Pershing Square and concluding with a rally at City Hall.

Participants planned to gather at 9 a.m. at Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., with the march at 10 a.m. to City Hall, 200 N. Spring St. Organizers, including Women’s March Foundation, will hold a program with guest speakers, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation announced these street closures in the area:

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Olive and Hill streets between First and Fifth streets
  • First Street  between Hill and Spring streets

From 2 to 8 p.m.

  • Spring Street between First and Temple streets

The LADOT adds that if the crowd reaches into the thousands, there may be more impacted streets that will require closures. For updates, LADOT’s Facebook, www.facebook.com/ladotofficial. Website: bit.ly/3F6Fzu2.


Source: Orange County Register

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