Indiana Daily Student

Protesters for reproductive rights urge unity, justice Saturday

<p>Freshman MJ Hadley holds a sign saying &quot;Abortions are for EVERYONE&quot; Oct. 2, 2021, at the Sample Gates. Protests for reproductive rights occurred throughout the country Oct. 2, 2021.</p>

Freshman MJ Hadley holds a sign saying "Abortions are for EVERYONE" Oct. 2, 2021, at the Sample Gates. Protests for reproductive rights occurred throughout the country Oct. 2, 2021.

Students and community members gathered to stand up for reproductive rights Saturday afternoon. The sound of cheers, chants and cars honking resounded over the crowd in front of the Sample Gates. 

Women’s March planned the marches to protest Texas’s recent ban on abortions before the Supreme Court’s term begins Monday. Texas Gov. Greg Abott signed a bill into law banning abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy, according to the Texas Tribune. The protest was part of the fifth annual Women’s March, including more than 600 demonstrations nationwide, according to the organization’s website

Kylie Heppner, IU freshman and Students Against Reproductive Restraints founder organized the protest in Bloomington, according to the organization’s social media. They have been planning the protest for more than a month with meetings to discuss the organization’s goals and create posters for the protest, according to SARR. 

Students Against Reproductive Restraints is a group of IU students fighting for reproductive rights for all those who own a uterus, and is against abortion restrictions. 

The protestors held up signs and asked people walking by if they were pro-choice, cheering as cars along Indiana Avenue honked in support. Chants of “My body! My choice!” and “Abortion is healthcare!” were repeated throughout the day.

Sign reads "If my uterus shot bullets It'd be less regulated" Oct. 2, 2021 at the Sample Gates. Students, residents, and activists rallied in support of pro-choice policies. Jenny Butler

“This is my fight,” Heppner told the crowd. “There is no way that anybody is going to stop me from using my voice. This is our right. We need to stand up and make sure that the school, community and all of Indiana know what we stand for.”

The protest was not just about a woman’s issue, according to SARR’s social media. Reproductive restrictions affect everyone who has a uterus, including trans men and nonbinary people, and they also get a right to choose, according to SARR. 

Saige Jefferson is a trans woman from Bedford, Indiana, and said she traveled to Bloomington to show support for all women and LGBTQ people who are affected by the lack of protections for reproductive rights. 

“I’m here for solidarity because I understand that when you give them an inch, they take a mile,” Jefferson said. “First, it will be aboritions and reproductive rights, next it will be trans rights and Black rights. If we don’t stand up with the people who are personally affected, there is not going to be anyone to stand up for us.” 

IU junior Sophia Johnson said she were worried about the Texas abortion law and of the possibility Indiana could enact a similar law. 

Bloomington resident Andi Haynes chanting at the Protest for Reproductive Rights Oct. 2, 2021, at the Sample Gates. Many Bloomington residents attended the protest. Jenny Butler

“I think abortion is a human right, and it is really disgusting what is going on in Texas right now,” Johnson said. “This is about unity and standing up for what is right and standing up for our choices as women. The goal is to make our voices heard and prompt change.”

Mandy Yates is the president of Monroe County chapter of the National Organization for Women, an activist organization promoting feminist ideals. Yates said she was angry about the state of reproductive rights and justice in this country.

“You need to start vocalizing and taking action now,” Yates said. “One of the most simple things you can do is exercise your right to vote. Let’s make sure we get progressive, feminist people representing us.” 

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