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Reproductive rights protest takes place on Pritchett Plaza

A group of protestors carries signs and chants callbacks while marching for reproductive rights in downtown Pittsburg on Oct. 2. Alyssa Tyler

On Oct. 2 starting at Pritchett Plaza, a reproductive rights march began at 3 p.m. and continued down Second Street to Eleventh and back. The protest just one of several occurring all around the nation in response to the new Texas abortion law. 

“I was watching a TikTok, and there was something about a women’s march,” said Blake Johnson, junior in psychology. “I looked it up and it’s a national organization called ‘Women’s March’ and they were planning on an October 2nd march for reproductive rights. Oct. 3 is the day the supreme court comes together. (We held the march) right before then and it gave us plenty of time to get things together. I reached out to the Altruistic Alliance of University Women (AAUW) and they made me a chair so it happened.”

Johnson had two weeks and two days to get the march ready. Before the march took place, tables for Student Violence Protection and the city Gay-Straight Alliance group were present, and there was live music performed by Amanita. The physical march included chants ranging from: “take your rosaries off my ovaries” to “my body, my choice.” 

“I really wanted to just bring a group of people together here in Pittsburg. It is a very conservative area, a religious area, so a lot of people are anti-abortion. (The march showed) that there are people here who do want access to abortions. We want our constitutional right to healthcare access, including abortion access,” Johnson said. 

For the people that went to attend the march, there were a variety of reasons for attending. 

“(I’m marching for) my mom,” Johnson said. “When she had her abortion, there were protesters outside of the abortion clinic screaming at her that she was a murder, that she was going to hell, that she was a horrible person and a baby killer. I grew up hearing that. After her abortion, she and her friend ended up volunteering to help people walk in, and I always thought that was cool. Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to advocate for women’s rights, human rights, healthcare, all of it.”

The march ended back at Pritchett Plaza with an open mic, allowing whoever to come up and speak about whatever they wanted.

“I came to this march because I’ve actually never been to one before. But reproductive rights are something that means a lot to me. It’s discouraging to see that laws that have been discouraging (abortions) I wanted to come out and show my support and bring advocacy to push policymakers and people at the legislative and federal level to agree with us to be on our side to make sure we keep our rights,” said Peyton Shaffer, senior in social work. “No matter how small my voice is, if we all come together, I feel like we can make it right. I want to be a part of that.”

On top of spreading awareness for the current Texas law, Johnson also told those attending about upcoming events.

“We were able to advocate about the new constitutional amendment coming up on Aug. 2, 2022, and voter registration,” said Johnson. 

For those interested in joining the AAUW, look on Gorilla Engage for information on upcoming meetings.

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