My experience at the Women’s Rights March


Charlotte Koellner

MARCHING FOR THEIR RIGHTS: People attending the march advocate for gender equality and social change.

Charlotte Koellner, Digital Media Student

On September 1, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the heartbeat bill into effect, a law prohibiting any abortions to take place within the first six weeks of a woman’s pregnancy. A little over a month following this event I attended the Women’s Rights March at the Texas Capitol in downtown Austin, Texas. The Women’s March is a women-led movement that organized over 650 nationwide rallies for abortion justice on October 2. 

I heard about the rallies from someone in Colorado who planned on attending the march in Denver. I had never been to a protest before, so I was excited to hear about an opportunity down the street from me and I immediately asked my dad if he wanted to take me. When he thought it was a good idea I asked another Bowie student, Hunter Sharp, if he wanted to meet us at the Capitol.

Personally, I wanted to attend because I am against the heartbeat bill, and I felt like this was the only way I could do anything about the injustice. When we got to the protest there were hundreds of people in the crowd, and it was a very powerful thing to see. We were all there for one thing, and that was to say to all of the politicians who voted on this law that they were making terrible decisions. It was a very unifying experience to see so many people come together against one injustice.

You could see parents with their small children on their shoulders waving homemade signs, you saw elderly women shouting with their granddaughters beside them, people in costumes, people with pride flags, fathers marching alongside their teenage daughters, people from all different backgrounds working together to be heard. There were people there who have been marching for this same issue for over 50 years, and there were people, like myself, who had never even attended a march before.

The most emotional part was seeing a small child, probably three or four years old, walking around with her mom pointing to all the different signs and asking what they meant. The sign creators would get down on their knees to be on the young girl’s level and explain what their sign meant to her and then she would walk away with her mom to go and ask about another sign. I doubt that she retained the information from the signs, but she will remember that day for years to come. To me, that is what matters. The goal is to build a new generation of people who will continue this ongoing fight for as long as we need to, and to educate younger people on human rights issues.

I really cannot stand the “pro-life” agenda that Texas politicians try to push, because there are more important lives at stake that need our attention rather than fetuses. When I think of saving lives, I imagine helping the children in our foster care system, the women who are not financially ready for a child, trans men and non-binary people who are not comfortable with the look of pregnancy, women who would be forced to carry their rapists child to full term, young girls whose bodies are not physically capable of having a child, women who do not aspire to be mothers, and so many more people. Protecting an embryo should not be our top priority.

It is very likely that if a Texas politician had an affair with someone and got her pregnant then she would be granted access to an abortion. If one of their daughters was raped and got pregnant then she would likely be able to abort the child. If a woman from an upper-class background were pregnant she would have easier access to a doctor before the six-week cutoff compared to a woman from a low-income background. This bill affects lower income Texas women at a much greater rate than it affects wealthy Texas women.

All women should have access to a safe abortion regardless of where they live. This bill is an attack on women’s constitutional freedoms, and abortion alternatives can be at times life threatening. Greg Abbott is not trying to save lives, he is simply trying to control his citizens.