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Today, Tuesday 18th June 2019 at 4pm the #StopTheBans pro-choice rally was held in front of City Hall in Long Beach. The event was organized by activist, speaker and author, Zoe Nicholson, and co-organised by Sarah Bedy along with the support from Mayor, Robert Garcia and council representatives of District 2, Jeannine Pearce, District 3, Suzie Prize, and District 8, Al Austin, who all spoke at the event. Rex Richardson from District 9 is also a supporter of the resolution against the anti-choice legislation in States such as Georgia and Alabama, but wasn’t present.
The Resolution allows the Long Beach City Manager to suspend travel to and impose economic sanctions on these and any States that adopt the anti-abortion law until their legislation is amended.
Co-organiser Bedy shared facts of how 8,000 women here saw abortion care and 3/4 of these women didn’t earn enough money for basic living – under 12k per year – and would reached unemployment within 6 months. Her sentiments are, that there should be a choice and opportunity for all women of society to have access or some form of support.
Claudia Powell, a rep for Planned Parenthood found of the States that have made abortion illegal, 1 in 3 women are at a reproductive age, which leaves 25 million women devastated to inaccessibility. 73% of the nation support access to abortion, so the message that the City intends to send is the need to ensure that the correct people are elected into States to halt from further States banning abortion.
Mayor, Robert Garcia began with the statement of “abortion is healthcare […] Denying women access and control to their bodies is immoral and wrong.” He further urged for people to “stop obsessing to control women’s bodies and allow them to control their own bodies.”
Suzie Prize reminded the public, that since 1973 the law allowed women to have a choice over their own bodies, which “we shouldn’t be regressing on” and adds instead “we should be progressing.” Prize also underlines that this decision is only affecting women. She mentions: “Have all the judgement that you want for the choice, but don’t take away the choice.”
Al Austin expressed his sentiments for his relatives and friends based in Georgia in a sense that he felt bad and torn. To sign the petition for this resolution was a no brainer when asked by Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce.
Jeannine Pearce says how pro-choice aligns with Long Beach’s fundamental rights to provide access and safety for all women in the City. She states how “this is an issue of slavery that women have to pay […] an emotional struggle is a form of slavery.”
The verdict of the resolution will be announced tonight. You can view the rally and our interviews with organizer Zue Nicholson and speaker, and co-founder of Long Beach Breastfeeds, Maricela de Rivera online tonight.
By Yasmine Tanres