SLO Women’s March to hold ‘Stop the Ban’ rally for abortion rights

A rally for abortion rights will be held Tuesday in downtown San Luis Obispo in response to laws restricting the procedure in states like Alabama and Missouri.

Women’s March SLO is hosting the rally, which is expected to draw hundreds of people, at 6 p.m. in front of the San Luis Obispo Courthouse at 1050 Monterey St. (the side facing the Fremont Theater).

The rally is one of many planned nationwide, titled #stopthebans.

Women’s March SLO wrote on its Facebook page that it’s a “fight for our reproductive rights and access to quality reproductive healthcare services, which includes safe, legal and affordable abortion and birth control for all people, regardless of income, location or education.”

Eight states have passed bills to limit abortion this year, including Missouri, which seeks to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

“Now is the time to act,” said Dawn Addis, an event organizer. “Now is the watershed moment to act so women can maintain control of their own bodies, a right to privacy and reproductive choice. We need to ensure safe, medical procedures.”

Jan. 21 by Annie Hock.jpg
Women’s March SLO will hold an abortions rights rally Tuesday in SLO. This photo depicts a past Women’s March rally. Annie Hock Courtesy Photo

Other states passing similar bills include: Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio Utah and Arkansas, which are seeking to prohibit abortions after six to eight weeks of pregnancy. The Alabama bill would effectively ban abortion altogether.

Many states allow abortions up to 22 weeks of pregnancy. States like California and New York are at 24 weeks or longer.

The legislation challenges the constitutional right established in Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that set a precedent for abortion rights in the U.S. The wave of recent legislation is expected to set up lengthy court battles, possibly reaching the Supreme Court.

“It has been a long-term plan of folks who want to control reproductive health of women to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Addis said. “There’s no time to waste to protect rights of all women in the U.S.”

Addis said the rally will include speakers, including those sharing first-person accounts of their experiences and why they believe reproductive rights are needed.

Across the country, women are sharing their personal accounts using the social media hashtag #youknowme.

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Nick Wilson covers the city of San Luis Obispo and has been a reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo since 2004. He also writes regularly about K-12 education, Cal Poly, Morro Bay and Los Osos. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley and is originally from Ojai.