Corvallis citizens protest in support of reproductive rights

Rebecca Freeby and Grae Addams hold up signs protesting Texas’s Senate Bill 8 at Central Park in Corvallis, Ore. on Oct. 2. SB8 restricts most abortions in the state of Texas after six weeks of pregnancy.

Tarsa Weikert , News Contributor

A Women’s March was held Saturday, Oct. 2 at 11 a.m. at Central Park in Corvallis, Ore. to protest Texas’s Senate Bill 8 which limits abortion access. 

Hundreds of community members gathered at the park to listen and show support for women’s rights, specifically reproductive rights. The event began with speeches from community members as well as musical performances to entertain the crowd as it grew.

Senate Bill 8 went into effect on Sept. 1 and bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy in Texas. 

People stood eagerly in the park with their signs showing support for women and legal abortion access. Mary McClelland, a Corvallis community member, showed up with her friend Ashton Cummings in support of reproductive rights.

“You’re not ending abortion, you’re just ending safe abortions for women,” McClelland said. “It’s extremely disheartening to see, and the fact that this is still being allowed for people to not have body autonomy is really upsetting.”

Cummings expressed frustration with the law as well. 

“What’s most irritating is a man would never have to justify any of his healthcare decisions and that’s not equality,” Cummings said. 

Rebecca Freeby, another Corvallis community member, attended the event with her friend Grae Adams. The two women were also passing out free T-shirts by Corvallis Customs that Adams designed. The tees said ‘let’s shed the patriarchy’.

“This isn’t about politics,” Freeby said. “It’s not about making some statement on one side or the other; it’s about protecting the lives of women and upholding the constitutionality of our access to abortion rights.”

According to the National Abortion Rights Action League, the state of Oregon is still the only state with no legislative restrictions on abortion. However, the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive health research organization, announced in July that 2021 has replaced 2011 as the worst legislative year for abortion rights in the United States. 

“I have a lot of friends that are really scared,” Adams said. “It is important to show up for everyone.”

The turnout at the park on Saturday represents how many Corvallis citizens support women’s reproductive rights. 

“I think it is really important to be visible when you are upset by something that is happening to others, that impacts not just you but those around you,” Freeby said. “It’s basically saying a woman isn’t qualified to make decisions that impact her and only her.”

The crowd began to march at 11:45 a.m. around the surrounding area. Cars were forced to a halt as protestors crossed the streets. 

“Corvallis stands with the women in Texas who are getting their rights taken from them,” Cummings said.