WASHINGTON — Thousands of people will descend on the National Mall Saturday to participate in the Bans Off Our Bodies protest Saturday afternoon.
The protest, which was organized in response to the leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, was organized by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Women’s March, and other groups.
Kayla Marquez, the associate director of organizing at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said — as an organizer — her group wanted to open the event to as many people interested in protecting abortion rights as possible.
“We all have our role to play here and I think as an organizer, all I can do is really create space for community,” she said.
One perspective in that community expected to be highlighted at the event is that of people-of-color
“As a young Black woman myself, knowing that most women who seek abortions are women of color, the issue is very near and dear to my heart,” said Claudia Nachega of Rockville.
CDC data showed that Black women received more than half the abortions performed in D.C. in 2019.
It’s an issue Harriet’s Wildest Dreams Executive Director Nee Nee Taylor plans to speak about on-stage Saturday.
Both she and Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George were two people with D.C. ties invited to formally speak at the event.
“What we risk now is criminalization of more Black women, and transgender, and non-conforming people,” Taylor said. “We don't want to go back to the closets. We don't want to go back to the ways that abortions used to be done. And, the reality is east of the [Anacostia] river is a reproductive desert, when it comes to health care, and so those are the things we have to fight for to get changed.”
Taylor adds she will bring attention to D.C.’s fight for statehood too and how the District wants its right to perform abortions protected going forward.
“I'm showing up as a D.C. native because I charge people to leave D.C. better than the way they found D.C.,” she said. “So, when you fight for other things, fight for us.”