EVERETT — At least 400 people marched along Everett Mall Way on Saturday in support of women’s reproductive freedom, fearful that those rights could soon be limited by conservative judges and lawmakers.
The demonstrators walked nearly three miles, from the mall parking lot to 4th Avenue West and back. Passing cars honked. Drivers waved.
One sign said, “If men could get pregnant, abortions would be available at Jiffy Lube.” Another had the slogan, “We need to talk about the elephant in the womb,” with an image of the Republican Party mascot inside a hand-drawn uterus. Masks and t-shirts blazoned portraits of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who championed women’s rights.
“I want to see us equalized to men,” said 13-year-old Jasmine Giles, a student at Voyager Middle School “To be treated as regular human beings and be able to make our own choices without someone telling us that they’re wrong.”
The protest was in step with many other abortion rights demonstrations nationwide, planned as part of the first Women’s March since President Joe Biden took office. Similar events were slated to take place elsewhere in Washington cities including Seattle, Olympia and Tacoma, according to organizers.
The widespread show of activism came just two days before the start of a new term for the Supreme Court that will decide the future of abortion rights in the United States, after President Donald Trump’s judicial appointments strengthened conservative control of the high court.
Everett’s demonstration was organized by local resident Stacy Babbitt and Snohomish-based Malicious Women Co., a retailer that specializes in scented candles with sassy slogans. The event was coined, “B*tches against Bullsh*t – March for Abortion Justice.”
The crowd included people of all ages and all genders, including some individuals who identified as neither male nor female.
Older protesters expressed frustration, saying women are still fighting for equality, nearly 50 years after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision made abortion legal.
“We’ve worked too long and too hard to get the rights we have, and we still aren’t equal,” said Gail Herberth, who lives in Everett.
“I remember when Roe v. Wade became the law of the land,” said Herberth, who was 20 when the high court issued the landmark ruling. “To have them just stomp on it and destroy it just breaks my heart.”
She began participating in the Women’s March in 2017, its first year. Since Donald Trump was elected President, the march has become an annual tradition, drawing crowds in cities across the country.
This year, Marysville resident Regina Buckmiller brought her daughters, 9 and 11, to “set an example,” she said.
“I’m going to fight to make sure they have all the rights they need and deserve,” said Buckmiller, 37.
The day before the march, the Biden administration urged a federal judge to block the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, which has banned most abortions in Texas since early September. It’s one of a series of cases that will give the nation’s divided high court occasion to uphold or overrule Roe v. Wade.
Buckmiller said she’s outraged by the Texas law, which allows private citizens to file lawsuits against violators and entitles them to at least $10,000 in damages if successful.
“You have the government, like in Texas, men who think they have the right to tell us what we can and can’t do with our bodies — to the point where they’re going to prosecute us or pay people to turn us in,” Buckmiller said. “It’s disgusting.”
Men at the march said they were there to support the rights of the women in their lives.
“Empowered women are good for everybody,” said Curt Roy, 32, who lives in the Silver Lake neighborhood.
Beside him, his wife held a sign with the command, “Stay out of my uterus.”
His cardboard placard pointed to hers, with the words: “What she said.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.