"I Am Not A Baby-Making Machine": Thousands March For Abortion Rights In Protest Of Texas's New Law

In Washington, DC, demonstrators marched to the Supreme Court. Justices will hear arguments on a major challenge to Roe v. Wade in December.

Protesters holding up many signs, such as "Our Future Our Fight Our Bodies," with the US Capitol in the background
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Demonstrators march in Washington, DC.

Thousands took to the streets in cities across the country Saturday to demand that lawmakers and judges protect people's rights and access to abortion as the nation's highest court prepares to hear its biggest reproductive rights case in decades.

It was the first Women's March of the Biden administration, and it came a month after the Supreme Court took no action to block Texas's six-week abortion ban from taking effect, halting the vast majority of abortions in the state. Texas is the first state to have an early-term abortion ban take effect in the decades since Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that made abortion legal nationwide.

Now the Supreme Court, which begins its new term Monday, is set to hear arguments in December regarding a Mississippi law that prohibits nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. In that case, justices will revisit a key tenet of reproductive rights: that states cannot ban abortions before a fetus is viable — typically around week 24 at the earliest. A ruling in favor of Mississippi would embolden other Republican-led states to impose sweeping abortion bans at earlier stages of pregnancy.

In Washington, DC, on Saturday, demonstrators marched to the Supreme Court, chanting "My body, my choice." During speeches, activists repeatedly referenced the Texas law, SB 8, which bans nearly all abortions after fetal cardiac activity can be detected — typically around the sixth week of pregnancy, when many people don't even know they're pregnant. The law is unusual in that it relies on private individuals rather than the government to enforce the ban, raising the question of whether Texas has found a way to structure an early-term abortion ban to avoid a constitutional challenge.

Speaking to the crowd gathered in DC's Freedom Plaza, Texan Anna described the hoops she had to jump through to get an abortion when she was 17. Texas is one of many states that require minors to obtain parental consent to get an abortion. But Anna’s parents were out of the country, so she had to get permission from a judge to end her pregnancy.

"Do you know what I wanted to say to the judge? I am not a baby-making machine, and I should be able to decide if and when I become pregnant," Anna said to cheers.

She ultimately got an abortion after six weeks because of the delays caused by the requirement, said Anna, a policy intern at Deeds Not Words, an Austin-based women's empowerment organization. But if SB 8 had been in effect, she wouldn't have been able to get it.

"No one should have to go to a judge for permission to have an abortion," Anna said. "No one should worry about being sued for helping their friend, and no one should stand in my way when I want birth control, Plan B, or abortion."

People in a crowd hold up signs, including "SCOTUS Do the Right Thing!"
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People attend the Women's March rally in Austin on Oct. 2.

People hold up signs, including "Abortion Rights Are LGBTQ Rights," at Washington Square Park
Kena Betancur / AFP via Getty Images

Protesters take part in the Women's March and Rally for Abortion Justice in New York City on Oct. 2.

Protesters carry a banner saying "Abortion Justice"
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Demonstrators march by the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on Oct. 2.

Protesters wearing masks and some holding signs, including "Bans Off Our Bodies"
Ben Gray / AP

Demonstrators hold up their signs during the March for Reproductive Justice in downtown Atlanta.

Signs held by two protesters are shown: "Keep Your Filthy Laws Off My Silky Drawers," with a photo of Stockard Channing as Rizzo from "Grease," and "We Are RUTHless!!! Act Accordingly," with an image of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
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Marchers hold signs during the Women's March rally at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC.

People standing by a gate and dressed as Handmaids from "The Handmaids Tale" hold up signs, including "Mind Your Own Uterus"
John O'connor / AP

The Illinois Handmaids protest abortion restrictions at a rally in downtown Springfield on Oct. 2.

A person holds a sign that reads "Why Do Old White Men Get to Decide?"
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A young person holds up a sign at the rally outside the Texas Capitol in Austin on Oct. 2.

Masked person holds up a sign: "Call Me When Abbott Gets Pregnant"
Kena Betancur / AFP via Getty Images

A protester carries a sign referring to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in New York on Oct. 2.

Masked protesters carry signs, including "Mind Your Own Uterus" and "The Future Is Female"
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Demonstrators march in Los Angeles on Oct. 2.