Women’s March San Diego joins rallies across nation

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SAN DIEGO — Marchers in San Diego joined rallies across the nation Saturday for a Women’s March on reproductive rights and a variety of other policy issues.

The protest comes just two days before the Supreme Court reconvenes on Monday to decide abortion rights.

San Diego’s event kicked off with a brief program at Waterfront Park, with speakers addressing the crowd and then leading a march south from Ash Street on Harbor Drive before looping back up to Ash on Pacific Highway.

“My body is my choice and I feel like nobody else should be able to make these decisions on my body,” Marlen Diaz Madera said.

“I’m going to make sure that I’m here for you,” Nora Vargas said. “I’m going to fight for you. We’re going to make sure that each and every one of you always has your rights.”

“My heart broke and I called my best friend, and I was just so upset and I just couldn’t believe that we’re going back in history,” Elizabeth Murphy said. “People say never repeat history and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

“I don’t want to go back to those days of the dangerous dark alley abortions,” Janey Guetz said.

“It’s insane to me that in 2021 we’re still having these events and having to make our voices heard,” Jorge Bustamante said.

Saturday marks the first Women’s March of the Biden administration, and in Washington, activists headed straight for the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in a year that conservative lawmakers and judges have moved to restrict access to abortions. A highly restrictive new Texas law — which prohibits abortions after 6 weeks, a point at which many mothers have not yet realized they are pregnant — has served as an organizing catalyst.

The march is part of “a fight to secure, safeguard, and strengthen our constitutional right to an abortion,” Rachel O’Leary Carmona, executive director of the Women’s March, said in a statement. “And it’s a fight against the Supreme Court justices, state lawmakers, and senators who aren’t on our side — or aren’t acting with the urgency this moment demands.”

Hundreds of protests are anticipated across the nation, though political analysts have questioned whether turnout will be lighter in the absence of the Trump administration’s energizing effect on left-leaning activists. Organizers talk of hundreds of thousands of participants nationally Saturday, not the millions of 2017, according to the Associated Press.

The movement also has fierce critics around the country.

“What about equal rights for unborn women?” tweeted Jeanne Mancini, president of an anti-abortion group called March for Life.

“It should come as no surprise that this year’s March would make support for abortion its macabre theme,” Mancini wrote in an opinion piece for Fox News. “This event is such a far cry from the early suffragettes like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who, over a century ago, took a courageous stand against abortion precisely to empower women.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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