Women’s March highlights what’s at stake in upcoming election

Neidenne Arevalo
Staff Writer                                        

Around 100 people gathered Saturday for the Claremont Women’s March.

Marchers, who met at the corner of Foothill and Indian Hill Boulevards, held posters in support of reproductive rights and women’s bodily autonomy. 

They held pink and white posters with phrases like “my body my choice” and “keep your policies off my uterus.” 

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Women’s Wave, a nationwide action calling on women and men to participate and insist that a woman’s choice to when and whether to become pregnant is her choice alone. 

Women’s Wave marches and activities took place Saturday at locations across the U.S.

The issues of women’s bodily autonomy are more urgent today than ever since the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in June, which reversed a 50-year-old right to an abortion.

“We are here at this particular time because (of) the negative vote on preserving our right to reproductive health care for women by the Supreme Court, and we have a month until the midterm elections,” said Dorthy Wills, an organizer of Saturday’s event in Claremont. 

She made noise with drums she held in her hands Saturday. 

“We do not want to see women going to prison for this,” Wills said. “We don’t want to see women terrified for the entirety of their fertile lives. We know how dangerous pregnancy in-and-of-itself is and how much more so in a country that displays a lack of care, particularly in women and girls of color and (the) poor.”

Wills said that with only one month until Election Day on Nov. 8 general elections, the goal of the Women’s Wave and the Claremont event is to keep abortion rights the main topic among campaign issues. 

“If a national abortion ban passes, if the Republican party takes over the House and Senate, then it would not matter who is in the White House,” Wills said. “That can happen in the midterms, and we cannot allow it.” 

Rachel Willbanks was at the Claremont event with a friend Saturday.

They held a white poster board with red writing on it quoting Captain Jean-Luc Picard from “Star Trek”: “With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first freedom denied chains us all irrevocably.”

“Since we couldn’t join the march in Washington, D.C., we wanted to show our support here today,” Willbanks said. 

Friends, family, and strangers gathered together to unite as one in hopes to make a change. 

Carissa Kelly and Johnathan Whytock, both Upland residents, held their signs proudly along with others.  

“We heard about the Women’s Wave event through the Women’s March, the organization’s website that you can look up to see what women’s rights marches are taking place,”  Kelly said. 

According to Pew Research Center, despite the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the majority of the public believes abortion should be safe and legal. 

“I want women to be able to choose what they want to do with their bodies,” Whytock said. “I think of my daughter and I want her to have the ability to choose independently.”

Joy Gunski, who attended Saturday, shared a particularly heart-wrenching story of a former co-worker in the ’70s who was raped.  

“She told me she was pregnant and I got on a call with a friend of mine, got a number and I took her down, and she got an abortion,” Gunski said. “If she didn’t have the option to choose what she wanted to do with her body, it could have been a very bad situation.” 

Gunski regularly attends various Women’s March events and admits that before her situation with her co-worker she was not involved, but because of it, she understands how important it is for women to have abortion rights.

“If we do nothing, nothing will change,” Wills said. 

For more information, visit womensmarch.com.

Neidenne Arevalo can be reached at neidenne.arevalo@laverne.edu.

Neidenne Arevalo is a junior communications major with a concentration in public relations and a minor in American law.

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