One-hundred-twenty-five people gathered at the United Tribes Technical College campus in Bismarck to rally for what they call women’s reproductive rights.
“Reproductive rights are human rights and our ability to control our own autonomy and to have freedom for our own decisions. That just is an incredibly important part of our lives and our contributions to society,” ND Women’s Network Youth Action Council Coordinator Olivia Data said.
The rally is just one of many held nationwide after Texas passed S.B. 8, legislation that bans abortions once a heartbeat is detected before some women know they’re pregnant.
Under the law, private citizens in Texas can file lawsuits against violators, and receive money in damages if successful.
“It puts a bounty on individuals who aid or abide anyone in getting an abortion: that can be anything like watching their children to giving them gas money and it’s just a law that we’ve never seen before,” Executive Director of North Dakota Women’s Network Kristie Wolff said.
Many disagree with the law and are letting their voices be heard.
Several made signs containing all kinds of messages aimed against the abortion law.
“There was a nationwide call to activate and to march and we decided that we needed to do that here in North Dakota. We have seen restrictive bills in our very own legislature and one of them is extreme House Bill 13-13,” Wolff said.
That North Dakota bill would have charged abortion providers with murder. It failed to pass the House.
“I want people to have the right to make a decision and the options available to them to make the decisions that are going to be right for them,” Activist for Women’s Rights Jessica Weisz said.
Weisz said she thinks the bill would create bad outcomes for women.
“If you don’t give a woman the right to make the decision that she needs to make for her own health, this is going to take a holdall over her body,” Weisz said.
“These marches across the country are very important because these marches are happening before the Supreme Court convenes and before the Supreme Court will hear the case,” Wolff said.
Demonstrators said they’re concerned that North Dakota lawmakers will try to pass a bill similar to the Texas law.
Marches like this one happened all over the state today, including in Fargo and Minot.