Press

Hundreds in Santa Fe rally in support of reproductive freedom

Oct 3, 2021 | Press

Hundreds of people rallied to call for stronger protections for reproductive rights Saturday morning in front of the Roundhouse.

The rally was organized by Women Warriors, a Texas-based activist group focused on fighting that state’s “heartbeat bill,” Senate Bill 8, which prohibits most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy or when a fetal heartbeat can be detected. The law took effect in September.

Many at the rally said they were also concerned about the fate of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortions throughout the country as a constitutional right.

The Supreme Court is set to reconvene Monday, and challenges to the ruling are on its agenda.

Others said it wasn’t just abortion protections they were rallying for but overall reproductive rights for everyone.

”Reproductive rights aren’t just women’s rights; they are human rights,” said attendee Tiffany Sansbury, a 37-year-old Santa Fe resident who wore her take on a white suffragette pantsuit.

The rally was one of about 600 such events held across the country Saturday to demand access to legal, affordable and accessible abortion, according to news reports.

Ivy Stern, board chairwoman of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains in Denver, said that in the first week after Texas’ abortion law took effect, the organization experienced a fourfold increase in patients from Texas, and Stern implored people to fight against similar bans being discussed across the country.

”We will not allow the reality of Texas to become the reality of this country,” Stern said at the rally.

Bethany Custard, a Texas-born Santa Fe resident, spoke after Stern and said she is “mad as hell” about the lack of attention to reproductive education she and her siblings received in Texas.

She said she spoke at the rally to support women in Texas who don’t have the ability to speak up for themselves.

”I am still outraged for the mothers and the sisters and the allies in my hometown in my state; they can’t even make a choice about who they are and what they do about their bodies,” Custard said. “And I am mad.”

No counterdemonstrations were visible at Santa Fe’s rally.

Law enforcement was on the scene but mostly stayed in a nearby parking lot.

A handful of local, state and federal officials attended. They included U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández and state Reps. Linda Serrato, Tara Lujan and Nancy Rodriguez, all Democrats.

Also present were Santa Fe County Commissioners Anna Hansen and Anna Hamilton; Mayor Alan Webber; and city councilors Signe Lindell, Renee Villarreal, JoAnne Vigil Coppler and Carol Romero-Wirth.

Webber said not only will New Mexico avoid “turning back the clock” on abortion rights; it cannot “afford to turn back the clock.”

”We are going to stand strong for women’s rights, and they are not just reproductive rights,” he said. “They are economic rights; they are social justice rights. They are the rights of women to stand up and be equal in every part of our community.”

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in February signed a bill overturning a nearly 50-year-old ban on abortions in New Mexico. The long-dormant law would have taken effect if the Supreme Court opted to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Lujan Grisham, a guest at the rally, gave a short speech reiterating her commitment to supporting reproductive and abortion rights in New Mexico.

”I want to be very clear: I know what is at stake and what did I say I would do? I would fight like hell,” she said, drawing strong applause.

Read the article in the Santa Fe New Mexican