October 2 and 3: Women’s March + Remember Rosie Jiménez
Two reproductive rights campaigns have staked out the first weekend in October for actions around the country to defend abortion rights.
Beginning in July, when the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear a Mississippi challenge to Roe vs. Wade, which secured the right to legal abortion, feminist organizations began planning coordinated actions for Sunday, October 3rd. On that day in 1977, Rosaura “Rosie” Jiménez died of an unsafe abortion in McAllen, Texas after the Hyde Amendment cut off abortion funding for people who received federally subsidized medical care.
Then in early September, after the high court declined to halt a Texas law outlawing abortions after six weeks, Women's March organizers in Washington, DC announced Saturday, October 2nd as a day of action.
“We see the two days of action as complementary,” says Miriam Padilla, a Radical Women member who is helping build a National Mobilization rally and march in Seattle. “What sets the October 3 mobilization apart are our strong demands for the full intersectional meaning of reproductive justice and our emphasis on honoring Rosie Jiménez and other women of color and marginalized people who are the most at risk of injury and death when abortion is not available.” The October 3 actions range from in-person rallies and marches to virtual film screenings and forums.
When she died, Jiménez was a 27-year-old Chicana college student and mother of a four-year-old daughter. She lived on less than $100 a month and was determined to finish school. Abortion was not covered by her Medicaid health coverage and she couldn’t afford to pay out-of-pocket. She was forced into an unsafe abortion by an untrained midwife and died of infection. She is the first known fatality as a result of the Hyde Amendment’s cutoff of funds.
Jiménez story is especially poignant in light of recent legislation in her home state of Texas that bans abortion after six weeks and rewards citizens who sue health providers and any who “aid” the person in obtaining an abortion. Texas’s law is currently the harshest in the country, but other states including Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, and Montana have passed similarly restrictive abortion laws.
At a recent rally in New York City, National Mobilization organizer Nga Bui addressed the uneven impact of bans on abortion: “Rosie’s story is not unique. It exposes how the system controls working-class and poor women, trans and non-binary folks. We need a mass movement to defend reproductive justice.”
The National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice was initiated by Radical Women and endorsed to date by two dozen groups and unions from across the country. Supporters call for: protecting and expanding Roe v. Wade — safe, legal abortion on demand without apology; repealing the Hyde Amendment; overturning state barriers to reproductive choices; stopping forced sterilization; preventing caged kids, forced assimilation, and child welfare abuses; ending medical and environmental racism — for universal healthcare; defending queer and trans families; guaranteeing medically sound sex education and affordable childcare; and upholding social progress with expanded voting rights and strong unions.
Actions for the October 3 National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice are happening in 11 cities. Endorsers hail from nine states, including five union locals and labor groups, three chapters of the National Organization for Women, a clinic defense group, several socialist organizations, Oregon Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, New Mexico Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and the Washington Poor People’s Campaign. For a full list of endorsers and a calendar of events, see www.ReproJusticeNow.org.
Contact the National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice at RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com or 206-985-4621 to arrange an interview with a participant.