NEW YORK — The New York City Women’s March was back in action on Saturday, as thousands of demonstrators rallied in support of women’s reproductive rights.
Activists gathered at Cadman Plaza Park in Brooklyn around 11:30 a.m. for an early afternoon rally. The group then marched over the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan’s Foley Square, where another Women’s March rally took place.
This year’s march was focused on advocating for abortion access in response to Texas lawmakers who passed the most restrictive abortion law in the nation last month.
“The fact that the Supreme Court refused to hear this case is deeply concerning because any state can pick up and follow suit,” said Sabrina Rezzy, president of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Democratic Club.
The law prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, which is usually around six weeks into pregnancy.
“We own our bodies. And every woman, regardless of race, creed or economic background, has a right to health care,” said activist Sabrina Gates.
The New York City march was one of hundreds held across the country, including in Washington D.C.
The demonstrations come days before the start of a new term for the Supreme Court that will decide the future of abortion rights in the United States.
On Friday, the Biden administration urged a federal judge to block Texas’ new abortion law. It’s one of a series of cases that will give the Supreme Court occasion to uphold or overrule the landmark Roe v. Wade decision from 1973, which made abortion legal for generations of American women.
The executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Donna Lieberman, said New York will always be a safe haven for women needing care.
“The pathways have to be open, the funding has to be there and the clinics providing services to women from Texas and Mississippi have to be supported, and that’s what we’re here for,” said Lieberman.
The Women’s March has become a regular event — although interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic — since millions of women turned out in the United States and around the world the day after the January 2017 inauguration of President Donald Trump. Trump endorsed punishing women for getting abortions and made appointment of conservative judges a mission of his presidency.
Without Trump as a central figure for women of varied political beliefs to rally against, and with the pandemic still going strong, organizers talked of hundreds of thousands of participants nationally Saturday, not the millions seen in 2017.