RiseUp4AbortionRights protest abortion rights on International Women’s Day

Emily Harrison, Life and Arts Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the March 11, 2022 flipbook.

Protesters cheered and shouted, held up signs, and vowed to fight for the rights of all women to have access to safe and legal abortions. Standing on the Drag on International Women’s Day, this group celebrated with a clarion call for change.

On Tuesday afternoon, women’s rights organization RiseUp4AbortionRights held a protest on Guadalupe’s West Mall where roughly 20 people voiced their opposition to recent state actions to restrict abortion rights — such as Texas’ limited six-week Heartbeat Act, and in support of Roe v. Wade, a 1973 Supreme Court decision that affirmed a woman’s right to have an abortion. 

When 5 anti-abortion protesters arrived on scene to counteract RiseUp4AbortionRights’ protest, they countinued to chant.

The group chanted things like, “Rise up for abortion rights, for abortion rights rise up.”

The first International Women’s Day was celebrated Feb. 28, 1909, and was created by the Socialist Party of America to recognize women who were locked in unsafe working conditions at garment factories in New York City. For protest organizer Victoria Mycue, their mission remains the same, despite the evolution of the women’s rights movement: to dismantle oppressive, misogynistic systems, protect human rights, and empower women everywhere.  

“It’s a beautiful thing for us to celebrate what (we) have had to go through, the things that we have achieved and the things that we still have to achieve,” Mycue said.

Raheena Ali, an international relations and global studies senior and protest attendee, said for her, International Women’s Day represents a time to stand up against oppression and preserve both her rights and the rights of women everywhere.

“We’re fighting back against every single policy and every single person who has hurt women or tried to attack women,” Ali said. “We’re just trying to live our lives, (but) we’re getting victimized in the process. But no more.”

At the protest, several speakers took to the mic to tell stories of women who died from miscarriages as a result of not having abortion access. Protesters held up signs in their honor, mourning the loss and vowing for an end to unnecessary deaths. 

Organizer Coco Das told a story about Savita Halappanavar, an Irish woman who was denied an abortion while experiencing a miscarriage and died from sepsis as a result, emphasizing the importance of abortion accessibilty as a pressing matter that needs immediate attention. 

“We are in an abortion rights emergency and this emergency will forclose on the lives of millions of women and girls,” Das said.

Despite the presence of anti-abortion protesters, the women’s rights activists continued to march and chant in the name of their beliefs, wearing green bandanas to convey their support for access to safe abortions.

Women are flooding the streets to say that we are human beings, and we must decide for ourselves if we have children.” Das said. “We are not incubators, not the properties of men, the state and the church. We are all human beings with dreams, lives and hopes for the future.”

Editor’s note: A previous version of the story incorrectly stated women’s rights organization RiseUp4AbortionRight’s name as Rise4AbortionRight. The Texan regrets this error.