FORT SMITH, Ark. — The March for Reproductive Freedom is taking place in five cities across Arkansas in response to the Texas anti-abortion law.
The Fort Smith and Fayetteville marches will both begin at 3 p.m. with one beginning at the Sebastian County Courthouse and the other at the Fayetteville Square. Attendees are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and masks. They are also encouraged to bring signs, water and umbrellas in case it rains rain. Snacks, water, first-aid stations, and porta-potties will be available along with seating for those unable to stand for long periods of time.
“The Arkansas supermajority legislature enacted 20 abortion restriction laws this year, with no exceptions for rape or incest — making it some of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country. All during a pandemic that has ravaged the state no less,” said Karen Ricketts, President of Arkansas Coalition for Reproductive Justice (ACRJ).
The ACRJ, the Arkansas Abortion Support Network (AASN), and Planned Parenthood Great Plains (PPGP) are the co-sponsors who put in the effort and resources to hold rallies in Little Rock, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Fayetteville and Mountain Home.
The sponsors say this event serves to educate, empower and mobilize Arkansans to be a part of the election process and connect attendees with advocacy organizations within their local communities.
“Texas’s unconstitutional six-week abortion ban is the loudest alarm yet that reproductive rights are in grave danger in Texas, in Arkansas, and across the country. It sets a dangerous legal precedent and could clear the path for states to override people’s constitutional rights," said Emily Wales, interim president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains. "We won’t back down, and we will not allow the reality of Texas to become the reality of Arkansas."
The Fort Smith Women's Solidarity March will feature m legal experts, medical professionals, and those with personal testimonies, with keynote speaker Jo Carson, Adjunct Professor at the University of Arkansas -Fort Smith and Attorney ad litem at the State of Arkansas.
Several sponsoring organizations will have information tables at the rally giving attendees the opportunity to network with local women or LGBTGIA+-led businesses or charities. There will be voter registration and signup sheets available for those looking to volunteer.
To sign up for the NWA for Reproductive Freedom March in Fayetteville, please click here.
To sign up for the Fort Smith Women's Solidarity March, please click here.