A reproductive rights rally marched through the Main Street business area and adjacent residential streets on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 2. The rally/march was apparently one of several held last Saturday in protest of the Texas anti-abortion law.
The Women’s March was a nationwide march, held in all 50 states, including this one in Seal Beach. This march was put in motion when Texas passed a law that banned abortions, once the pregnant individual reaches six weeks, said organizer Jeannette Cookmeyer.
“This law also essentially puts a bounty on individuals for assisting someone in getting an abortion, even if they do so unknowingly. This new law has sparked nationwide outrage because it essentially reverses Roe v. Wade, a law put in place in 1973, that affirmed that access to safe and legal abortion is a constitutional right. And as history has taught us, abortion bans do not stop abortions, they only stop safe abortions,” she said.
There were approximately 125-150 attendees, with ages ranging from young children to senior citizens.
“We raised about $300 for a Texas-based reproductive health and justice organization that serves primarily women of color, called the Afiya Center,” she said.
Cookmeyer said lower income communities and women of color are historically disproportionately affected by abortion bans.
There were two guest speakers, including Dr. Anne Seifert, an epidemiologist, author, and speaker. Her first book, titled “His, Mine, and Ours: A guide to keeping marriage from ruining a perfectly good relationship”, was published in the 1970s and was considered revolutionary for its time. She now resides in Seal Beach.
The second speaker was Sam Smith, of Huntington Beach, a 17-year-old high school student with a passion for social justice and equality.
Finally, the group listened to a 30-minute live music performance. The performers were Jess Grace Garcia and Jennifer DeWitt, who played hit songs made popular by female artists. Jess and Jennifer are also singers at the Community Congregational Church in Los Alamitos.
She said the local woman’s march ended with an “open mic” that allowed any of the attendees to come up to speak about reproductive rights or to share their own stories. A couple of attendees participated in this.
“Overall, it was a very positive, uplifting, and peaceful event,” said Cookmeyer.
Many, if not most, of the participants wore masks. Some came with children. The group gathered at about 2 p.m., under a large tree at Main and Electric Avenue. While the group waited to start, three different cars at different points in time honked their horns in apparent support.
One of the signs held by a participant depicted the outline of a coat hanger, an apparent symbolic reference to illegal abortions. Another sign said, “We stand with Texas women.”
Car horns were heard at more than one intersection as the group marched down Main Steet to Ocean, then up Eighth Street to Main and Electric, then up Main to PCH, and back to the Electric Avenue intersection, before continuing on another circuit through Old Town.
Police vehicles were present in the Main Street area.