A Rally for Reproductive Rights at the Roundhouse (an alliterative article)

By KAY MATTHEWS

A respectable crowd of old and young women, a sprinkling of men, a bunch of politicos, and a lot of dogs turned out for the October 2 Reproductive Rights Rally in Santa Fe. Organized by a consortium of human rights groups and Democratic institutions, it featured the singing New Mexico Raging Grannies and speakers who addressed the recent Texas ruling that outlaws abortions after six weeks, with a $10,000 bounty payment for those who report anyone aiding and abetting a woman trying to get one “illegally.” The new law reveals how vulnerable the Supreme Court decisions of Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood have been for decades as the right-to-lifers have chipped away at access to abortion across the country.

That vulnerability is also due to the Supreme Court’s accumulation of  more and more power, making decisions on issues that should be legislated in Congress as law. The House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act on September 24, with all Democrats except one (Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas) voting yes and all Republicans voting no: “WHPA cements the right for people across the U.S. to access abortion and enables healthcare providers to provide abortion without bans or other medically unnecessary restrictions.” This bill should have been a priority in Congress years ago, particularly when the Dems had a larger majority in both houses, to counter the vigorous Republican takeover of state legislatures and the right-to-life’s organized opposition to abortion. Now it faces almost certain defeat in the Senate under the filibuster rule.

The state Dems were well represented at the Roundhouse rally: State Senator Liz Stefanics, State Rep. Tara Lujan, Santa Fe County Commissioner Anna Hansen, Santa Fe City Counselor Renee Villarrael, Mayor Alan Weber, U.S. Representative Teresa Leger Fernandez, and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who warned the crowd that many more states were on track to implement laws similar to the one in Texas. After she spoke, the crowd broke out with an “MLG” chant, reminiscent of the “RGB”(Ruth Bader Ginsberg) one, the liberal Democratic establishment’s habit of making celebrities out of people who need to be held accountable as well as praised.

One of the Dems asked the women in the crowd to raise their hands if they’d ever hand an abortion. About half the women’s hands went up (including mine). Then she asked those who knew someone who’d had an abortion and almost every hand in the crowd went up. This was the usual Santa Fe crowd of mostly white, middle class, and wealthy people: if we, with our privileged access to birth control, have such a large percentage of failure, it’s indicative of the vast number of women who, without that privilege, are subjected to a corrupt political culture and a failed American health care system.

The star of the rally was the young woman from Texas who appeared on stage with her young son (wearing a Black Lives Matter t-shirt) who told the crowd “I’m mad as hell” at Texas and “I’m furious that I was brainwashed to think that abstinence was my only choice until I got to New Mexico and found out what my choices really are.” She ended with “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and I’ve been scorned!”

Kathy Córdova and Tewa Women United

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

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