San Antonio was among many cities around the world to host a Walk for Choice March in support of women’s rights in response to recent legislation regulating existing abortion practices.
The walk took place Saturday, Feb. 26, at Hemisfair Park in downtown San Antonio. Several UTSA organizations participated.
Members of the Atheist Agenda, Young Democrats and GLBTQ (Gay Lesbian Bi-Sexual Transgendered and Questioning) attended the march.
The president of Young Democrats of UTSA, Charles Wilkison, sees the legislative bills proposed recently as an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to privacy and an unnecessary attack on a woman’s character.
“We’ve decided that each woman, regardless of ethnicity, race or socioeconomic status should be able to make the choice for themselves, as opposed to the government enforcing demoralizing mandates that force women to undergo costly medical treatment in order to gain access to abortions,” Wilkison said.
Pro-choice activist Raven Geary started the Walk for Choice movement in opposition of Congressional Bill H.R. 3, also known as the ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,’ which places a ban on taxpayer subsidies for abortion.
Sonogram laws are sweeping the U.S. and spurring media attention, supporters and protesters.
Texas Senate Bill 16, referred to as the ‘Abortion Sonogram Bill,’ proposes that a women seeking an abortion must be offered a fetal sonogram and hear a heartbeat before undergoing the procedure. The patient must then wait a period of at least two hours before the abortion can be performed.
The bill was approved 21-10 in the Texas Senate on Feb. 17 and has made its way to the House for deliberation.
The local Walk for Choice event has attracted supporters for a multitude of reasons. Some disagree with governmental control on doctor-patient relationships or feel that the bills in debate are a constitutional violation.
Others maintain that the issue is much more personal.
“I am usually a quiet and reserved person that likes to stay out of the spotlight, but I couldn’t sit back and watch women’s rights being taken away,” sophomore biology major Laura Kindred said.
Kindred contacted local community organizations and campus clubs to spread the word about the walk in hopes of gaining support.
“Nobody likes abortions,” Kindred said. “It is not a party event women like to go to. It’s a necessary option that needs to be available to all women.”
Young Democrats of UTSA public relations manager Tara Niendorff says she feels that the abortion debate is primarily about controlling women.
“There are people who can’t stand the fact that women are able to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive destiny,” Niendorff said.
“I consider myself a feminist and this is a very personal and emotional issue for me, as I’m sure it is for people on both sides of the abortion debate.”
Walkers anticipated an opposition movement to form and arranged to have police escorts present to ensure the safety of marchers.
Along with 50-plus cities in the U.S., pro-choice activists gathered in various cities in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.