Video and photos: Stephanie McGeary

Hundreds of people gathered in front of the Humboldt County Courthouse Saturday afternoon as a part of the National Women’s March, joining rallies and marches held across the country in protest of Texas’s recent ban on most abortions.

Many protesters hoisted colorful, handmade signs, as the crowd chanted “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! That Texas law has got to go!” and “My body, my choice!” Passing cars honked in support, prompting loud cheers from the crowd.

Taking turns on a megaphone, which was wiped with sanitizer between uses, many participants expressed their excitement for the rally’s turnout and their concerns over the Texas law and the current threat to Roe v. Wade. Many even shared their own abortion stories.

“In 1972 when Roe vs. Wade was first legalized, it wasn’t a few months later that I found myself having to have an abortion,” Michele Walford, of the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee said from the courthouse steps. “That would have changed my life if I didn’t have that choice and I wouldn’t be the person that I am today…I want every woman facing that decision that I had to face to be able to do it as freely as I could. It meant everything that I could have a safe, legal abortion.”

Several speakers also pointed out that, although it is called the “women’s march,” the issues of abortion justice and reproductive rights affects everyone.

“I had an abortion about four years ago and I’m very, very grateful for the care I got and that I had access and the privilege to get that service when I needed it,” participant Taylor LaRue said to the crowd. “I’d also like to say that not all people who get abortions are women. This is an intersectional issue.” 

The local Planned Parenthood had a table set up at the event and was giving out free condoms, lube and tampons. The nonprofit also had out a jar that was filling up with donations.  Megan Hughes, one of the rally organizers, was happy to see the support for the nonprofit and said she was extremely pleased with today’s turnout.

“What Texas is doing could have an impact on our entire nation and we need to speak up now before it’s too late,” Hughes told the Outpost. “We need to put our money where our mouth is and give our money to Planned Parenthood and to other nonprofits in Texas who are helping the people there get the medical care that they need.”

Scroll down for more pictures of today’s rally.