With union backing, women to march on October 8 for reproductive rights
Women demonstrate at Supreme Court. Women's marches across the country will call for legal and safe abortion everywhere in the country. | Jose Luis Magana/AP

WASHINGTON—With endorsements from the AFL-CIO, the Teachers (AFT) and the Service Employees, hundreds of thousands of women and their allies will march in cities nationwide on October 8 for restoration of reproductive rights.

The Women’s March, which organized the demonstrations, has gathered dozens of allied groups, including the two unions and the labor federation, though they did not issue formal endorsement statements.

The lead march will be in D.C., starting at 11 am from Folger Park, and there will be at least 415 marches nationwide.  Sites and times for local marches can be found here.

“In post-Roe America, this Women’s March stands apart from every march that came before it — we’re gathering to tell anti-abortion politicians that we want our rights back,” the Women’s March says (their emphasis).

The New York City march, called “Mass action to defeat the right and restore abortion access,” will start at noon in Foley Square. The Chicago march will start at noon at the plaza in front of the Federal Building, 219 S. Dearborn in the Loop. In Los Angeles, there will be a rally for reproductive rights, followed by a “training to win” session at 1852 East First Street. The rally starts at 11 am.

The training to win point brings up the other key theme of the marches: They’re occurring exactly one month before Election Day—a day when reproductive rights will be on ballots nationwide.

That’s because right-wing lawmakers and candidates, including many Republican senators who stacked the U.S. Supreme Court with the anti-abortion justices who ruled it unconstitutional, will face the voters. In several states, notably Michigan, there will be abortion-related referenda, too.

There are also record numbers of women seeking political office. And after the Supreme Court’s Republican majority erased the constitutional right to abortion, voter registration skyrocketed—and women are an overwhelming majority of the newly registered.

The marches are not the first show of strength this year by the women’s movement, which also includes millions of male supporters. Even in red states, huge majorities support the right to abortion. That was obvious in Kansas in August.

There, right-wing Republicans who dominate the legislature tried to erase the right to abortion from the state constitution via  a referendum. Registration skyrocketed among Kansan women. Turnout, in August and in the middle of a hot Kansas summer, rivalled that of presidential elections. And the right to abortion won 58% of the vote.

Some of the planned October 8 marches already have political links, the Women’s March website shows. The marches in Texas are allied to get out the vote efforts for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Beto O’Rourke. At least one in Wisconsin is promoting Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Mandela Barnes.

Their Republican foes—Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson—are rabidly anti-reproductive rights. Johnson is the most-endangered Republican Senate incumbent this fall.

“The massive nationwide day of action comes as women, disproportionately impacted by the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, are expected to be a decisive voting bloc in the 2022 midterm elections,” the women’s march says.

Given the voter registration increases, “the #WomensWave marches aim to emphasize the congressional and state elections this year mark a fight to protect basic freedoms,” it adds

“Women and activists across the country have never felt more urgency to turn up and speak out against the political forces that have banned their rights to make life-changing decisions about their own bodies,” Women’s March Executive Director Rachel Carmona said in a statement promoting the demonstrations.

“We are fired up to elect more women and pro-choice candidates around the country into office who will protect reproductive freedoms and reject proposals aimed at restricting abortions. We are down to the 11th hour. We must work together to take back our power and ensure women have fundamental rights to their bodily autonomy, for the sake of all Americans and future generations to come. That means turning out en masse on October 8th” and showing both Republican candidates and their party as a whole that “the Women’s Wave is here to stay.”


Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.