Hundreds of people gathered outside the Roundhouse Saturday morning to call for greater protection of reproductive rights.
The rally was organized by Women Warriors, a Texas-based activist group focused on fighting the state’s “heartbeat law,” Senate Law 8, which prohibits most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy or when a fetal heartbeat is detected can be. The law came into force in September.
Many at the rally said they were also concerned about the fate of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion as a constitutional right across the country. The Supreme Court will meet again on Monday and appeals to the verdict are on its agenda.
Others said they advocate not just protection against abortion, but universal reproductive rights for all.
“Reproductive rights are not just women’s rights, they are human rights,” said 37-year-old attendee Tiffany Sansbury, a 37-year-old Santa Fe resident, who wore her version in a white suffragette pantsuit.
The rally was one of about 600 such events held across the country on Saturday to demand access to legal, affordable and accessible abortions, according to news reports.
Ivy Stern, chairman of the board of directors of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains in Denver, said the organization saw a four-fold increase in patients from Texas in the first week after the Texas Abortion Act went into effect, and Stern urged people across the country to fight similar bans discussed.
“We’re not going to let the reality of Texas become the reality of this country,” Stern said at the rally.
Bethany Custard, a Texas-born resident of Santa Fe, spoke to Stern and said she was “crazy as hell” about the lack of attention to reproductive education that she and her siblings received in Texas.
She said she spoke at the rally to support women in Texas who do not have the opportunity to speak for themselves.
“I’m still outraged by the mothers and sisters and allies in my hometown in my state; they can’t even decide who they are and what to do with their bodies,” said Custard. “And I’m crazy.”
No counter-demonstrations were seen at the rally in Santa Fe. The police were there, but mostly stayed in a nearby parking lot.
A handful of local, state and federal officials attended. This included US MP Teresa Leger Fernández and MPs Linda Serrato, Tara Lujan and Nancy Rodriguez, all Democrats.
Also in attendance were Santa Fe district officers, Anna Hansen and Anna Hamilton; Mayor Alan Webber; and city councilors Signe Lindell, Renee Villarreal, JoAnne Vigil Coppler and Carol Romero-Wirth.
Webber said New Mexico will not only avoid turning back the time on abortion law; she cannot afford to turn back time.
“We will stand up for women’s rights, and it’s not just reproductive rights,” he said. “They are economic rights; they are rights to social justice. They are the right of women to stand up and be equal in every part of our community.”
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed law in February lifting a nearly 50-year-old ban on abortion in New Mexico. The long dormant law would have come into effect if the Supreme Court voted for Roe v. Wade would have decided.
Lujan Grisham, a guest at the rally, gave a short speech in which she reiterated her commitment to supporting reproductive and abortion rights in New Mexico.
“I want to be very clear: I know what is at stake and what I said? I would fight like hell, ”she said to strong applause.