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March for Reproductive Freedom over the Brooklyn Bridge, in Cadman Plaza Park
May 16, 2022 Beth Eisgrau-Heller
"Vaginas brought you into this world, Vaginas will vote you out!" Photos by Beth Heller Photo wew.bethhellerphoto.com
NYCLU Senior Organizer, Drea Herrera pumps up the crowd as protesters arrive at Cadman Plaza Park just before noon on Saturday, March 14th. “My name is Drea Herrera and I’m a Senior Organizer with the New York Civil Liberties Union. We are here to support every single person in New York State and across the country for abortion access. It’s important to show up and say ‘We’re not gonna stop until every single person has equal access to abortion across the state and across the country.’ We’ll be out in the streets, we’ll be fighting for legislation.’ You can check our Abortion Access Roadmap on the NYCLU.org to see our four priorities to make NY State a beacon for anyone who needs abortion access.”
DJ Sharad kept the gathering crowd energized with thumping beats.
Kendall Stirrup attended the March for Reproductive Freedom to support his Mom, Lynn, a single parent. He said, “Every woman has the right to choose” what to do with their body.
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Brooklyn Heights residents, Mira Sleilati, her husband Josh Feuer, and their 10-year-old daughter, Eva. Eva confidently shared, “The reason why it’s important to be here today and why I’m here is because no one should feel forced about decisions about their body.”
Leigh Smith, Brooklyn NY “I’m originally and I know access to abortion provides opportunities for women to achieve a degree of opportunity that had historically been denied them. Abortion Rights are essential for women in the united states.”
Beth Botshon attended the march with her husband, 12-year-old son, and 10-year-old daughter. “It’s important for me and my family to be here because I want to ensure the reproductive rights of my daughter and my son and any relationship he may be in in the future. And it’s incredibly disheartening that we have to continue to fight this fight over and over again. I don’t want to have to do this but I will keep coming out over and over again to guarantee that my daughter doesn’t have to cross states to get health care.”
Beth Botshon, her husband, 10-year-old daughter, and 12-year-old son.
Greek Artist, Georgia Lale demonstrated at the March for Reproductive Freedom with a ten-foot American flag comprised entirely of scraps of hospital gowns. The flag was originally created for an installation and performance piece called DEFENSE where she recited the Constitution of the United States. According to her Instagram account, @georgia_lale_studio, “the piece challenges the inadequate health care system and the government response during the Covid-19 pandemic and honors first responders, essential workers, patients, and the memory of the people that lost the battle with the virus.” Lale herself is also a cancer patient. She believes her flag is applicable to the plight of women who cannot obtain legal, safe abortions and the inadequate pathways to reproductive healthcare in the United States.
A Brooklyn Handmaid’s Tale. Felice: “I think it’s important to be here today to preserve a woman’s right to choose. It should not be a right in only democratic states, it should be a right nationwide. This is a personal choice, a choice about whether to have a family and when. And it’s not up to the Catholic religion our religion in general. This is a country that separates church and state and when the Supreme Court Justices and Congressmen and Senators begin their statements with ‘I’m a Catholic (or Christian)’’ I find that extremely offensive. I just here today as a Handmaiden because it’s a statement, it stands out in the crowd. I don’t want to be ruled by the minority and have to live by someone else’s moral judgments. I have my own and I can make my choice myself.”
Jillian White is a Crown Heights resident and Community Organizer. “I live in Crown Heights. I’m here today because I’m a community organizer and I’m showing up today as a Marshall doing support for security for the march. I think it’s important for us to take care of each other, we can’t rely on the government, so we need to show up and be each other’s safety.”
Medically Necessary: Khloe Raines lives nearby in Downtown Brooklyn. She attended the march with her toddler son, Jagger, and her sleepy five-month-old daughter. “It’s important for me to be here, for obvious reasons. Abortion is healthcare. But I also had to have a medically necessary abortion and without that, I would not be here today.”
Uppity Women Unite: This protester is originally from Kansas. She wants people to remember George Tiller, MD. He was one of few doctors in the state of Kansas who performed late-term abortions. He was shot to death in the foyer of his church by an anti-abortion extremist on May 31, 2009. The procedure has been politicized by anti-choice lawmakers and right-leaning media outlets but in reality, remains. While performed anywhere between the 21st and 24th week of gestation, it is employed in cases where there is little to no chance of fetal viability and/or the life of the mother has been threatened. This is not a procedure a pregnant person could readily obtain by walking into a clinic for the sole purpose of deliberately ending a pregnancy.
Smitha Rao: Smitha Rao is a Director of Media Strategy by trade but is also a Freelance Journalist She was reporting on the March for Reproductive Freedom for markets in India, among others. She was not the only journalist on hand to report to the foreign press. A team of two was also on hand from Brazil.
Crowd shot of Cadman Park Lawn looking south. The masses eagerly awaited the opportunity to march over the Brooklyn Bridge.
Notorious RBGs: These young women, close friends, and colleagues are social workers. They greatly admire Brooklyn’s own, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, never one to mince words. Their signage illustrates “Notorious RBG’s” position on the importance of reproductive freedom.
Cat DeWan: Known as “Miss Cat” by her students, beloved District 13 elementary school teacher and Brooklyn Heights resident, Catherine DeWan, marched with her mother and a family friend.
Fortitude: I Survived an Illegal Abortion #neveragain This participant’s sign says it all. She steadfastly marched with this sign held high over her head for the entire length of the Brooklyn Bridge. She has been interviewed at other marches this year, and the full story of how she traveled alone at 18, from Florida to Alabama to obtain an off-market abortion in 1969 can be found on the Tea of FIT podcast: https://anchor.fm/theteaoffit/episodes/I-Survived-an-Illegal-Abortion-in-Birmingham–Alabama-in-1969-e1i649r
Planned Parenthood of Greater NY had a 100-foot banner!
Amazing Women Have Abortions: Marching boldly across the Brooklyn Bridge, Clothing designer, Mari, was LOUD and PROUD about a woman’s right to choose safe, legal abortions. While she was recently priced out of Brooklyn, she cannot wait to move back and still runs her business in our beloved borough.
Planned Parenthood and their 100 foot banner make their way across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Linda Sarsour films protesters marching. Brooklyn native, former Director, Arab American Association of NY 2017 Women’s March Founder, and well-known and sometimes controversial activist, Linda Sarsour takes video of the march as Reuters Photographer, Caitlyn Ochs gets her shot.
Linda Sarsour (Portrait): Activist and founder of the 2017 Women’s March, Linda Sarsour was born and bred in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. She attended the march “because [lawmakers] are just going to keep coming down the line” to attack the civil rights of women, the minorities, LGBTQ, and other marginalized communities.
Behind Bars: This sign was discarded along the off-ramp of the Brooklyn Bridge on the Manhattan side. The bars are ironically reminiscent of a jail cell. Recently, after intense debate, the Louisiana legislature stripped a clause from a proposed anti-abortion bill that would not only make seeking and obtaining an abortion illegal but murder. This latest attempt to criminalize women seeking reproductive healthcare is just one example of how far conservative lawmakers will go to ban abortions in their states.
Following in Her Footsteps: District 52 State Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon proudly marches with her Granddaughter. Jo Anne represents DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Gowanus, and portions of Park Slope and Prospect Heights. She has been a stalwart defender of human, civil and reproductive rights for her entire political career.
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