Demonstrators From Proposed New California Bill protest at the History Museum of Los Angeles County.

By Renee Jain, LAPIress Bureau Intern

The Center for Reproductive Rights has been a leader in reproductive justice advocacy since 1973, when Roe v. Wade made abortion legal nationwide. At 10 a.m. Saturday, the CRL and Over 30 High Schools collaborated to hold a protest in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and place an exclamation point to Planned Parenthood’s well-attended March for Choice event held last Saturday.

The Rally for Abortion and Sexuality, dubbed “March for Choice: Remembering the 1970s,” was billed as a time to “learn, grow, build” and plan for “two right-ward steps for the community,” says Planned Parenthood Southern California spokesperson Nadia Manteri.

The same tenets were realized by the Center for Reproductive Rights, which served as an umbrella organization for a vast cross-section of rights-based issues. On hand were a coalition of groups that are working towards a passage of SB 823, co-sponsored by 22 California senators, scheduled for June. The bill, which will prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against women seeking health care for reproductive conditions and ensuring that women have the ability to co-pay for any costs related to birth control, abortions, or any infertility services.

“March for Choice felt like the perfect opportunity for people to come out and have the chance to make their voices heard,” says Manteri.

A global message of abortion rights, the event also supported the new Planned Parenthood Global Fund, a charity dedicated to funding reproductive health services throughout the world, including outreach programs to reduce maternal and infant mortality worldwide, as well as access to sexual and reproductive health services for women.

Protesters carried signs that said: “Taxation Without Representation: What We Seek,” “Why Didn’t Planned Parenthood Protect Me,” and “Abortion rights, more than ever, are birth control rights!”

An attendee, Hazel Han, voiced her firm belief in a woman’s right to choose: “The many complexities and realities that challenge a woman’s decision-making process requires that we apply procedural rights to these issues — rights that don’t always grant the necessary space for a woman to make her own informed choices, because she does not have the same capacity to take administrative and financial risks that men do.”

The rally drew a crowd of thousands of demonstrators who never mumbled a word. With a sea of people marching by, abortion rights were as entrenched in mainstream conversation as abortion was long ago.

—Elle Hess, YouTube user: ellehess

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