Women took the streets of Pasadena, downtown Los Angeles and other locations around the Southland as part of a nationwide series of demonstrations against Texas’ near-total abortion ban, organizers said Sunday.
In Pasadena protestors gathered near the Rose Bowl before caravaning to Pasadena City Hall, where they were greeted in part by Congresswoman Judy Chu, State Senator Anthony Portantino, Pasadena Mayor Vicor Gordo and Councilmember Steve Madison and drove in a loop around Centennial Square waving signs.
Pasadena’s “Caravan for Choice” was organized primarily by Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley in partnership with Women’s March National Call.
Similar gatherings were held in other Southland communities including Long Beach, West Hollywood, Irvine, and Fountain Valley.
In downtown Los Angeles the march Saturday began at Pershing Square and continued to L.A. City Hall, where Rep. Karen Bass, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis and Supervisor Holly Mitchell were among the speakers.
Paxton Smith, the Texas student whose valedictorian speech went viral for speaking in opposition to Texas’ abortion law, appeared with women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred.
“A little over a month ago, my state’s six week abortion ban went into effect,” Smith said. “The governor of Texas has said that this legislation would save lives. But he clearly doesn’t know or has chosen to ignore the reality. The truth is, that before Roe v. Wade, thousands of people died, by getting abortions done illegally. We cannot, we will not, go back to the days when the only way to end an unwanted pregnancy is to risk our lives. We will not go back to the days when we used coat hangers to access our basic human rights.”
The Women’s March Foundation also held its official march in Washington D.C., with more than 600 “sister marches” nationally.
The event was the fifth Women’s March, with this year focusing on abortion rights following the Texas ban on abortion after six weeks when many women aren’t yet aware they’re pregnant.
The law — which does not provide exceptions for cases of rape or incest — allows private citizens to sue anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion after six weeks, including the clinic or a person who drives the woman to the clinic.
“When the Supreme Court rejected an emergency request to block Texas’ abortion ban, they effectively took the next step towards overturning Roe v. Wade. Simply put: We are witnessing the most dire threat to abortion access in our lifetime,” the Women’s March states on its website.
“That’s why we’re marching in every single state and in our nation’s capital Washington, D.C. — on Oct. 2 before the Supreme Court reconvenes. We need to send an unmistakable message about our fierce opposition to restricting abortion access and overturning Roe v. Wade before it’s too late.”
The first Women’s March was held in 2017 on the day after President Donald Trump was inaugurated, and it became one of the largest public demonstrations in U.S. history. The Washington Post’s analysis of the 2017 Women’s March estimated that single-day marches drew between 3.267 million and 5.246 million people in the U.S. Local estimates found that about 750,000 people attended the Los Angeles march in 2017.