Hundreds of people marched through downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to protest for abortion rights, the second straight weekend Californians took to the streets after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled canceled Roe against Wade.
At a rally outside the Federal Courthouse on 1st Street, speakers urged a crowd of about 200 to march peacefully to show their anger and frustration at the rollback of federal abortion rights after 49 years. .
Crowds marched down Broadway toward Pershing Square chanting, “We’re not going back!” and “Controlling women is what they want; mad women, that’s what they got. Some protesters held signs that read, “Keep your hands off my body” and “Post Roe? Surely not.”
The protest was organized by the Southern California chapter of Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, which also helped coordinate a march in the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach. The group is also calling for a “national day of action” on July 4 which will include a protest in Venice Beach.
“Standing in the middle or just being pro-choice is no longer enough,” one speaker told the crowd. “We need to stand up for women in other states…for people in abusive relationships, who may not want to have children with their abuser or rapist.”
Many protesters wore green bandanas around their heads, necks and arms. Green has become the international color for abortion rights, inspired by the “green wave” movement that led to the legalization of abortion in several Latin American countries.
Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights volunteer Daniela Estevez, 21, of Pasadena, said she is working to collect letters from women in Mexico, Chile and Argentina who can encourage and advise Americans as they fight to improve access to abortion.
“They know what it’s like to live in a country where abortion at the federal level is not legal,” Estevez said. The goal, she said, is to “build international solidarity.”
Estevez carried a cardboard sign that read the words ‘Que tiemble el estado’ or ‘Let the State tremble’, the opening lyrics to a popular song that became an anthem for protesting Latin American women against feminicides and restrictions on abortion.
Protesters stopped on Broadway outside Grand Central Market, and people eating tacos and ice cream at sidewalk tables watched as an organizer shouted into a megaphone: ‘Make noise for the right to abortion!”
A few diners joined in, clapping and whistling. Others held up their phones to record a video.
Sarah Ramos, still holding an agua fresca, got up from her table and joined the march with two friends. They had come from Palms for lunch and had no idea the protest was happening, she said, or they would have stayed longer and brought signs. The protest seemed appropriate for this July 4 weekend, she said.
“It’s hard to think about celebrating this country when I’m so frustrated right now,” Ramos said. “Our mothers literally had more rights when they were our age.”