October 8th Mobilization for Abortion and Reproductive Rights

Views from around the country

Posted October 17, 2022

Washington, D.C.
Dianne Feeley

I was one of the several thousand who rallied at Folger Park’s Capitol Hill district and marched to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC on Saturday, October 8 on a sunny but brisk fall day. Although the November elections were just one month away, the one-hour rally didn’t feature politicians but rather representatives from organizations including SEIU, Planned Parenthood and Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, a Black-led mutual aid organization.

Organized by the Women’s March and a number of other groups, the march and rally revealed a variety of hand-lettered signs that emphasized the fight for bodily autonomy. Many were also designed with a sense of humor. As demonstrators took to the streets, favorite chants rang out: “My body, my choice; her body, her choice; their body, their choice” and “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries.”

I was one of four from the Michigan Coalition for Reproductive Liberation who drove 10-hours one way to join the demonstration. We marched with our banner and passed out MCRL stickers for the next month’s Michigan referendum to insert “reproductive freedom” into our state constitution. We met Michiganders along the route while others who took our stickers promised to tell their Michigan friends and relatives to vote Yes on Prop 3.

There were only a handful of contingents; more often the crowd seemed to be composed of friends and relatives who traveled together from places near and far. On the sunny but brisk fall afternoon, Washingtonians strolled along with their families, rode along on their bikes or waited along the sidewalk to welcome us. At the end of the march route, we faced a small counter-demonstration protected by police. Demonstrators were able to quickly drown out the anti-abortion youth group with whistles and bullhorns, setting off a final round of chants.

Photo: Jessica Prozinski

Oakland, CA
Bill B., Alex C. & Claudette B.

About 300-350 attended. The good news is that an ongoing reproductive justice coalition has emerged from this, involving East Bay DSA and other organizations.

Madison, WI
Marsha R

Starting at noon, the Madison Abortion & Reproductive Rights Coalition for Healthcare (MARRCH) joined other organizations to march from the University of Wisconsin Library Mall, up State Street, to the Wisconsin State Capitol. About 250 people marched and rallied.  MARRCH held a speak out where over 20 people shared their stories. One attendee described the speak out in the following words: “It was moving and sometimes heartbreaking. But marching back down State St. folks felt really powerful”

Some chants that were provided:

  • Abortion is our right. We won’t give up the fight.
  • Abortion is a human right, not just for the cis and white.
  • Fuck the Courts and legislature, I am not an incubator.
  • Not the courts, not the state, only we decide our fate!
  • Back up! Back up!
    We want freedom! Freedom!
    All these politicians…
    We don’t need ’em, need ’em!
    Back up! Back up!
    We want freedom! Freedom!
    Tell the sexist GOP…
    We don’t need ’em! Need ’em!
  • When abortion rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!
  • People aren’t baby making machines. People ARE full human beings
  • Whose streets? Our streets! Whose body? our body!
  • Free abortion on demand, From D.C. to Madison!
  • They say no choice We say PRo-CHOICE!
  • Boots, boots, boots on the ground. We’re here, we’re here, to shut this shit down

Ann Arbor, MI
Giselle G

On Saturday, October 8, a couple of hundred people gathered at Liberty Plaza in Ann Arbor, Michigan for music, speeches and a short march through the streets of downtown Ann Arbor. The event was organized by Women’s Wave 2022, a Women’s March offshoot.

Speakers included congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Debbie Dingell as well as author and radio host Michelle Brown, Katie Costello from Michigan Reproductive Freedom for All, and Nat Leach from YDSA. Several organizations had tables at the event. A few members of the Michigan Coalition for Reproductive Liberation, myself included, handed out flyers.

Slogans during the march included “My body, my choice. Her body, her choice. Their body, their choice” and “Roe, Roe, Roe your vote”. The emphasis of the rally was on the importance of getting people out to vote yes for Proposal 3 in the November elections; Prop 3 will make reproductive freedom a constitutional right in Michigan. There was also a strong message in favor of voting for Democrats from most of the speakers with some more radical messages about systemic misogyny coming from others. The tone was angry but energized.

Olympia, WA
Linda M

We had a small action here. About 200 or so on a picket line along our capitol street with signs for the traffic going by. After an hour, everyone marched downtown to the central square.  There was good response from cars and people but it was a small turnout. This was probably mainly because the organizing of it had been minimal, just through the Women’s March and subsequent emailing. No other local groups were notifying or collaborating. So, it was an amiable group with a typical Washington-positive response, and not very big because it wasn’t well-known.

The previous week, there was a reproductive justice event on Zoom organized by Olympia Indivisible that had breakout room discussions, good attendance, lots of talk about voting, electing candidates, donating to Northwest Abortion Action Fund. WA NOW did one on Zoom for Equality Day Aug. 26 that saw 100 people on Zoom on a Friday night discussing a range of issues connected with reproductive justice. So, the interest is there, we still have issues of access in our state, especially with faith-based hospitals limiting access. This Oct 8 was just not well advertised.