Sam Misa, Photographer
Dressed in pink attire, more than 260 people marched on May 14 for reproductive rights from the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis, Ore. to the Corvallis City Hall.
The “Bans Off Our Bodies” march was a nationwide movement that, in Corvallis, was organized by Amelia Schantz, Perla Nieto, Megan Le and Liz Babcock. The march started at the Memorial Union on OSU’s campus before moving to the city hall downtown.
“A lot of women feel like their rights are being taken away,” said Jackie Stilwell, one of the protestors who attended the march. “This makes me feel like society wants women to stay in the kitchen to raise the children which we aren’t going to do. I want to be someone who’s strong in the business.”
Attendees carried signs with phrases such as “Seriously? My mom already marched for this” and shouted chants like “Hey, hey, ho, ho. Abortion ban has got to go!”
When the marchers arrived at the Corvallis City Hall, the hosts invited attendees to tell stories about their personal and their friends’ experiences with Roe v Wade through the megaphones.
Carter, an attendee whose last name was not available, talked about contraceptive access for people who do not identify as women that have uteruses, such as black and brown trans-people, non-binary, and queer people.
“[They] are not allowed in because they do not identify as women,” Carter said. “This is all of our fights, not just one community… it’s everyone’s fight like we’ve been saying all day long.”
One of the organizers of the event said Roe v Wade granted every woman in the nation the rights over their own body and reproductive rights in 1973. They said if Roe v Wade gets overturned this year, at least 25 states will likely ban abortion, and 13 of them may do it immediately.
“Thousands of women die every year from pregnancy complications,” the speaker said. “But I want to shed light on the fact that Black women are three times as likely as white women to die from pregnancy-related causes, according to CDC data.”
About seventeen minutes into the speeches, a bystander not part of the protest walked through the crowd, repeatedly shouting, “Watch the documentary ‘2,000 Mules!’ They are stealing your votes. Watch the documentary 2,000 Mules. They are stealing your democracy!” The crowd of protestors booed in response to the man as he continued to chant.
“2,000 mules” is an American political film by Dinesh D’Souza that shows how the 2020 elections were allegedly rigged and stolen from former President Donald Trump.
“These people have done a lot to put this thing together,” said George Beekman, one of the attendees of the protest. “They should have a right to speak without being shouted down by a person who is shouting the same things over and over again.”
Babcock said the hosts got together through the Hattie Redmond Women and Gender Center with Whitney Archer, the associate director of diversity and cultural engagement and center director of the Women and Gender Center at OSU.
According to Babcock, they’ve talked in a group chat together since May 9 to organize this march. Babcock said she designed the flyers and created the Facebook event.
Schantz said, on the day she found out about the leaked decision about Roe v Wade, she was not able to do any school work because she felt so angry and sad.
Schantz said she and Nieto had attended an earlier protest at the city hall regarding women’s abortion rights.
“It felt good to make some noise, but we needed more,” Schantz said. “We’re here to make some noise, and combine it with education… This is what I find important, to hear personal stories and really understand why this matters, and understand how many people are affected by this if it does pass.”
After about an hour at city hall, the march returned back to the MU at OSU.
“Whatever is next, we will be there fighting. Loud and proud,” Stilwell said.