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Women's March through Normal targets Texas abortion law

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Bloomington-Normal residents marched through Normal on Saturday in support of women's rights and against a new Texas law that bans most abortions after six weeks.

Participants in Saturday's Women's March ISU chanted “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries" and, "Show me what a feminist looks like. This is what a feminist looks like." They marched for women’s reproductive rights, while also acknowledging the many other injustices that women face, such as sexual violence and centuries of societal oppression.

The chanting echoed throughout Uptown Normal as citizens began the rally Saturday morning on the Illinois State quad. They traveled through the Sugar Creek Arts Festival in Uptown Normal, gaining attention from hundreds of festival vendors and attendees.

ISU biology education student Corissa Small said it was impactful to walk directly through the festival because disturbing the balance and status quo are required to raise awareness of injustices.

“I did this march because I think all women experience these issues. You may have your own opinion or your own experience, but all women experience some sort of oppression in some way. This march is supposed to bring light to that and make women feel supported and that they’re not alone," Small said.

Taylor Rayley, a member of the Socialist Feminist Working Group in Bloomington-Normal, led the chants, such as, “When bigots attack, we fight back.”

Rayley said as a femme person, she’s faced numerous attacks on her body. She feels it’s important to support other people in this community.

“Keep fighting. Make sure your feminism is inclusionary. So, including trans women and nonbinary people in your feminism is most important in my eyes," Rayley said.

Krystle Able, public relations officer for the Bloomington-Normal Democratic Socialists of America, said women’s health care and women's rights are some of the most crucial topics Americans to which should be paying attention.

“We are in a position where the Supreme Court is going to be going back into session here in just a few months, and they could have the fate of Roe v. Wade in their hands. We have a conservative Supreme Court right now, so it is a very real possibility that this is something that even in the 21st century, we’re going to have to keep fighting for," Able said.

In addition to advocating for women’s reproductive rights and women’s equality in general, members of TRIBE appeared at the rally to stand in solidarity for the missing and murdered indigenous women. TRIBE is an ISU student organization made up of Indigenous students and allies.

President of TRIBE, Nitakechi Muckintubbee, said injustices against indigenous women are an epidemic, and many Illinoisans aren’t aware of the gravity of the issue.

“Our missing and murdered indigenous women is one of our biggest issues right now. We lose so many of our sisters. The first step is getting rid of ignorance and starting to learn and trying to educate yourself on the situation, and then we can go with the healing process from there," Muckintubbee said.

Local high school student Delilah Higgins said the Texas abortion law impacts both men and women. For this reason, Higgins said it’s important for communities to come together to fight against misogyny and oppression against women as well as other minority groups in the United States.

“Our country was built on the belief that women are inferior to men and shouldn’t have a place at the table, and that doesn’t go away quickly. It takes years of work to make something that ingrained go away, and we’re working to try to help women have equality," Higgins said.

On Friday the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a lower federal court ruling that temporarily blocked Texas from enforcing the ban on abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The Department of Justice now has until Oct. 12 to reply to the ruling, and the ban remains in effect until then.

Thousands of rallygoers in hundreds of cities across the country gathered last weekend for the 5th Women's March, focusing on abortion justice. The ISU/Normal event was postponed to this weekend due to weather.

Jordan Mead is a reporting intern at WGLT. She joined the station in 2021.
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