About 200 people gathered in Gibson Park on Saturday morning for a women’s march against Texas’ new abortion law.
The law, known as Senate Bill 8, is the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, as it bans most abortions after around six weeks of pregnancy – before most people know. that they are pregnant. The law also replaces private citizens, as it encourages people to sue clinics and others who violate the law by awarding them at least $10,000 if they win their case.
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The march in Great Falls was one of more than 600 women’s marches nationwide on October 2, two days before the Supreme Court resumes on October 4. The event featured speakers, including a representative from Senator Jon Tester’s office, and attendees walked from the park to a nearby bridge. There were no counter-protesters at the event.
Event organizers MacKenzie Diaz and Diana Coquillette highlighted the importance of women’s marches in Montana, which has a majority Republican legislature.
Diaz gave an impassioned speech, encouraging attendees to have empathy and compassion for people seeking abortions.
“(This law) is killing us. It’s putting us in dangerous situations. … Being pro-choice is about empowering people to make the best decision based on their situation. It doesn’t matter what your story is. It doesn’t matter how it turns out. passed, it’s your choice,” she said.
Tawny Cale, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and descendant of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, spoke about the effect of the law on people of color. She spoke of a history of forced sterilization – from 1973 to 1976, four Indian Health Service regions sterilized at least 3,406 Native women without their permission, according to the National Library of Medicine. Cale also opened up about her own grandmother who died in childbirth at the age of 39.
“Some women (had) the opportunity to have their children taken away. Others did not have the opportunity to quit when they wanted to,” she said. “Our health care is our business. The choice is ours no matter what This applies to everyone, but especially black people, Indigenous people of color, who will be most affected by strict anti-abortion laws because of the great disparities in access to health care they face compared to our white sisters.
Marley Taylor, 18, said she attended the event to support “fundamental rights”.
“I love that we have an event here (in Great Falls) because a lot of the time when you talk about these things everyone is against you. So it’s great to see that people are here and you you’re not alone,” she said. said.
Nicole Andersen, 39, said she came to the event to “protect our voices as women”.
“It’s important to be present and to be active, especially in Montana. We need to make our voices heard,” she said.
Julia Christianson, 34, who attended the event with Andersen, added that the protest was particularly important “since we both have daughters”.
“We want to protect their rights and the rights of every woman and child in the future,” she said.