LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Thousands of people took to the streets in downtown Los Angeles and other locations around the Southland Saturday to support reproductive rights, part of a nationwide series of demonstrations against Texas’ near-total abortion ban.
“We have fought before. We will do it again to get what we need,” Sofia Campbell, who showed up for Saturday’s march, said.READ MORE: Pasadena Natural Gas Line Ruptured, Evacuations Underway
About 20,000 people were expected to take part in the Women’s March in Los Angeles, which began at 10 a.m. at Pershing Square and led to City Hall, where Rep. Karen Bass, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis and Supervisor Holly Mitchell were set to speak, along with actresses Alyssa Milano, Patricia and Rosanna Arquette, Maria Shriver, Raven-Symoné and Christine Lahti.
Paxton Smith, the Texas student whose valedictorian speech went viral for speaking in opposition to Texas’ abortion law, also appeared with feminist attorney Gloria Allred.
“Lawmakers in Texas do not get to decide what a woman’s decision is, it’s not theirs, it’s not the church’s, it’s not any lawmaker – it is hers,” Shriver, a news anchor and activist, said.
“It works because we did this for gay rights and I can get married. So, we just have to keep on pushing forward,” Raven-Symoné, an actress and activist, said.
“No, this is not about abortion,” actress and activist Christine Lahti said. “If it was, then Texas and other like-minded, anti-choice states would be advocating for accessible birth control, sex education, healht care for all and equitable parental leave.”
Similar gatherings were scheduled in other parts of the Southland including:
— Long Beach at 10 a.m., with the group gathering at Deukmejian Courthouse and marching through downtown to Harvey Milk Park;
— West Hollywood, with the group gathering at 10 a.m. at West Hollywood Park;
— Pasadena, with the bike and car caravan group gathering at the Rose Bowl Lot I and traveling to Pasadena City Hall;READ MORE: One Person Dead, Firefighter Injured In Harvard Heights House Fire
— Irvine, with the group gathering at the corner of Alton Parkway and Culver Drive; and
— Fountain Valley, 1:30 p.m. at Mile Square Park at Brookhurst and Edinger.
The Women’s March Foundation was holding its official march in Washington D.C., with more than 600 “sister marches” planned nationally.
The event will be the fifth Women’s March, with this year focusing on abortion rights following a Texas ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, when many women aren’t aware they’re pregnant.
The law — which does not provide exceptions for cases of rape or incest — allows private citizens to sue anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion after six weeks, including the clinic or a person who drives the woman to the clinic.
“When the Supreme Court rejected an emergency request to block Texas’s abortion ban, they effectively took the next step towards overturning Roe v. Wade. Simply put: We are witnessing the most dire threat to abortion access in our lifetime,” the Women’s March states on its website.
“That’s why we’re marching in every single state and in our nation’s capital Washington, DC — on Oct. 2 before the Supreme Court reconvenes. We need to send an unmistakable message about our fierce opposition to restricting abortion access and overturning Roe v. Wade before it’s too late.”
Sydney Trautwein, a marcher who spent most of her life in Texas, but recently moved to LA, said she was “pissed” when asked how she feels about the new law in her home state.
“I have friends that won’t be able to, like, leave the state if they need help and it’s just devastating,” she said.
The first Women’s March took place in 2017 on the day after President Donald Trump was inaugurated, becoming one of the largest public demonstrations in U.S. history. The Washington Post’s analysis of the 2017 Women’s March estimated that single-day marches drew between 3.267 million and 5.246 million people in the U.S. Local estimates found that about 750,000 people attended the Los Angeles march in 2017.MORE NEWS: Riverside Teacher Placed On Leave After Video Surfaces Of Her Wearing Feather Headdress, Doing 'Tomahawk Chop'
More information and a complete list of events is available here.