Protesters walked onto the steps of Sproul Hall on Tuesday at noon holding signs such as “We are the pro-choice generation” and “My body, my choice” as an individual sporting a monarch butterfly costume fluttered their fabric wings in rhythm with beating drums.
The protest, taking place on International Women’s Day, was part of a national call for activism by the coalition riseup4abortionrights.org, said Reiko Redmonde, an organizer of the protest. The purpose of this movement is to prevent the Supreme Court from ending abortion rights and overturning Roe v. Wade, Redmonde added.
“We refuse to let the U.S. Supreme Court deny women humanity and decimate our rights,” said another protest organizer Magda Cholewinska. “Abortion on demand and without apology.”
Many of the protesters wore green bandanas wrapped around their arms, necks and even being used as face masks.
The bandanas were intended to express solidarity for women in Latin American countries including Mexico, Argentina and Colombia that just gained the right to safe and legal abortion, according to Cholewinska.
“By upholding the right to choose, we reaffirm the basic principle that anti-abortion lawmakers and justices have forgotten,” said campus sophomore and ASUC presidential candidate Catherine Bauer in a speech to the protesters. “Liberty includes the right to make decisions about our own body.”
Bauer said it was meaningful to see about 200 students protesting in such a “lively manner.” She added that protests such as these are reaffirming that they are not alone for students on campus who have gotten abortions.
Now more than ever, the issue of reproductive access is becoming more pressing as lawmakers are targeting these issues, said Bauer. She added that it is the responsibility of UC Berkeley students to show up to events such as this one and make their voices heard.
“Denying the right to abortion hits poor women and especially Black and other women of color with vicious circumstances,” said Redmonde in a speech at the protest. “It reduces them to baby-making machines.”
After hearing speeches from students, faculty and organizers, the protesters marched through the streets of Berkeley, making their way from campus to Downtown and concluding at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, according to Cholewinska.
As the crowd moved from Sproul Plaza out into the city streets, shouts and cheers rang out, chanting, “Rise up for abortion rights!”