One month following Texas’ new ban on abortions that prohibits abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, before some realize they are even pregnant, El Pasoans decided to make their voices heard with a march and rally beginning at Chamizal National Memorial organized by Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, Saturday, October 2.
The march was one of the many marches held across the nation on Oct. 2, where advocates marched, protesting abortion bans.
“If I was younger, it would have definitely affected me and several of my friends, several of my family members,” Krystal Marentes, who works at Elemi Restaurant said.
The rally began with passionate chants led by Xóchitl Rodriguez, the Philanthropy Officer for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, on a megaphone. The crowd explosively cried out, following Rodriguez’s chants of “my body, my choice…” and then after, performing a choreographed set of power poses for each powerful callback.
“[In] lots of women’s cases, it is a life or death situation and for a body of government to decide that they have this type of power over a women’s body is unconstitutional,” said Stella Decema, a support specialist for a local nonprofit and volunteer helping with the rally.
Soon after, the crowd, led by Rodriguez, began their march for abortion towards Delta Park down Delta Drive with a police escort. The group kept their chants booming as the sea of marchers yelled proudly things such as “no more hangers” and other mighty cheers, with signs waving, ensuring they were heard and seen by anyone nearby. Cars driving by on the neighboring 375 highway honked their horns as they passed by in response to the march.
After reaching their destination after a twenty-minute trek, the marchers were met with tents to register new voters and another to pledge donations to the cause, where donators would receive t-shirts and other merchandise for donating. A stage was set for Rodriguez and other representatives from Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, spokeswomen from Warriors of West Fund (the only abortion fund in El Paso), poets, singers, and an all-women mariachi.
“This law is detrimental to entire communities; the impact it is having on not only the mental health, but the physical health and the reproductive health of people with uteruses is immeasurable at this moment. It’s had an immediate impact in El Paso [where] we know our access is already so limited; this only creates even more obstacles for the entire system,” Rodriguez said.
Even with the serious tones and subject of the March and rally, that did not prevent the marchers from being able to celebrate themselves. They danced and sang and cheered as the event came to its end with the mariachi singing songs of love, and of hope as they aim to take back their rights of their bodies and give a better life to themselves and for the future.
By Jorge Solis