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Demonstrators organize at the Capitol to march for reproductive rights

October 4, 2021

People of all ages, genders and ethnicities came to the Michigan Capitol in Lansing on Oct. 2 to march for reproductive rights at the Mi Body Mi Choice Rally. 

This rally was held in response to a Texas law went into effect last month that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and has no exceptions for victims of rape and incest.

After the Supreme Court did not interfere, many local and state governments in parts of the country are introducing similar legislation that would ban or severely restrict abortion access.

In the state of Michigan, there is an abortion ban dating back to the 1930s that could take effect should the verdict in Roe v. Wade be overturned. The city of Hillsdale has even proposed an abortion ban similar to the Texas law. 

Kathryn Watkin, a Hillsdale native for Pro-Choice with Heart, spoke about her disapproval of the proposal and how it will negatively affect Hillsdale’s citizens. 

“The law proposes to fine and jail anyone who aids a resident of Hillsdale with obtaining an abortion at any stage of pregnancy,” Watkin said. “Hillsdale isn’t home to any abortion clinics and residents already struggle with barriers to healthcare access. This ordinance would further obstruct that access.”

Watkin is fighting against the proposed ordinance in her hometown and vowed to do so until it was thrown out. Many demonstrators were moved not only by the speakers and the movement they came to support but also by the inclusivity of the event. 

“Especially as a trans man as myself, it’s important for us to also be in that conversation and having people also talk about us more when it comes to reproductive health rights,” Daniel Raasch, who attended the march, said.

Patricia De La Hoya, who also attended the march, said, “I just really appreciate the more emphasis on low income and how abortion rights impacts low income women in a different way than it affects higher middle class cisgender white women. That was incredibly important and really pushed the intersectionality that we need. I think we still have a long way to go to make this more intersectional but these are really good steps in the right direction.”

Rally organizers also drove the message of how important it is to vote in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections in Michigan. 

The midterm elections and the redistricting process will help determine the future of abortion rights in Michigan if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court.

“First of all, you got Gov. Whitmer on the ticket,” Joshua Smith, a volunteer for the Ingham County Democratic Party, said. “Attorney General Nessel and Secretary of State Benson are going to be on the ticket, too. For the first time, we have an independent citizens redistricting commission so the politicians aren’t drawing the borders to their own advantage. It finally gives the citizens of this state a chance to vote for a fair and equitable legislature.”

Until the congressional districts are drawn, Michiganders will continue to make their voices heard and organize support for their preferred candidates.

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