Thousands of San Antonians join 600 nationwide in ‘Ban Off Our Bodies’ protest at Milam Park

Demonstrators gathered at Milam Park to advocate for abortion rights in Texas. Bella Nieto/The Paisano

Bella Nieto, News Editor

On Oct. 2, the official chapter of the National Women’s March in conjunction with Planned Parenthood South Texas, Urge, AVAW, Lilith Fund, Southwest Workers Union, Martinez Street Women’s Center, Texas Organizing Project and Indivisible and National Council of Jewish Women joined an estimated 3,000 San Antonio demonstrators in a nationwide “Ban Off Our Bodies” Women’s March. 

Demonstrators gathered at Milam Park to advocate for abortion rights in Texas. Bella Nieto/The Paisano

The protest was intended to mobilize around a person’s bodily autonomy and right to abortion access. More specifically the demonstration was a direct retaliation against SB8. The law bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, does not make exceptions for rape or incest and is considered one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country. Following the passage of SB8, Texas also passed SB4, a law that limits mail-order abortion pills. 

Organizers encouraged attendees to wear orange. The color became synonymous with the ongoing fight for access to safe and legal abortions in Texas after Wendy Davis’ thirteen-hour long filibuster to block SB 5, another restrictive Texas anti-abortion law. 

As part of the demonstration, testimonials were heard from several pro-choice organizations including Planned Parenthood members, poet Diamond Mason, abortion storyteller Vanessa Martinez, Lilith Fund board members and Texas Organizing Project members. 

Also on the speaker list was former UTSA student, Kimaya Factory the founder of Black Freedom Factory, a grassroots organization working for equity and diversity in the community and workplace. In her remarks to the demonstrators, she expressed the importance of having access to abortions especially in the case of rape or incest. 

“We have a right to abortions, especially in cases of rape and incest because survivors matter,” Kimaya said. “Our bodies matter, our choices matter. It is ridiculous that a state precedent overruled Roe v. Wade which was written into law to protect our bodies. It is ridiculous that people like Greg Abbott, the LT governor and legislators continue to show us that our votes do not matter and that democracy does not function upon the values of the autonomy of our bodies.”

Factory also mentioned how important voting was and the lengths that she would be willing to go for others to have access to safe abortions. 

“We are here today to say that we don’t give a damn about your legislation, we don’t give a damn about your misogynist, patriarchal values, because we will rise,” Factory said. “We will rise and we will fight and we will register every voter and we will cross survivors over state lines if we have to, to access abortions…we will rise, so thank you for being out here.”

Finally, her remarks touched on how imperative it is to see survivors of sexual assault and to stand with them. 

“If you had an abortion, I love you and I advocate for you and I believe in you, we all believe in you,” Factory said. “If you are a survivor of rape and sexual assault, you matter, your story matters, your life matters, your fight matters. No rapist, no legislation can take that away from you.”

The Women’s March comes a few days before the start of a new term for the Supreme Court, a session that could decide the constitutionality of abortion rights in the nation.