On Saturday, Oct. 2, women and supporters gathered in front of the City of Newburgh courthouse to stand with women in Texas and across the country in opposition to the Texas abortion laws.
The Texas Heartbeat Act, also known as Senate Bill 8 and House Bill 1515 came into effect on Sept. 1, 2021. This bill was signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. This specific law allows citizens in the state of Texas the ability to sue anyone who assists or performs an abortion. Though patients cannot be sued, other individuals and parties involved are subject to legal action should they take part or assist in the abortion. $10,000 would be awarded to those citizens who sued and won their cases. There are no exceptions for rape and incest pregnancy. Only medical exceptions are mentioned. Following the law’s entry, the Justice Department filed a legal action against the state.
The women’s march in Newburgh was coordinated by Rachel Bruce and Aria Valdez. Bruce is also a member of the Young Democrats of Orange County.
Speakers at the event include the following: Emcee: Michele McKeon; Laurie Tautel, Orange County Legislature and Incumbent Candidate; Gabriella Madden, Deputy Chief of Staff for Senator James Skoufis; Deobrah Danzy, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York and Vice Chair of the Newburgh City Democrats; Bobbi Boyd, Member of NAACP Chair of Police Review Board; Aria Valdez, Women’s Advocate and Co-Organizer; Joan Hutcher, Vice Chair of Minisink Democratic Committee; Terri Blancato-Horton, Candidate for Newburgh Town Council and Orange County Democratic Party Vice Chair; Rachel Bruce, Vice Chair of NYSYD Women’s Caucus and March Co-Organizer; Giselle Martinez, Candidate for Newburgh City Council (District 1); Genesis Ramos, Candidate for Orange County Legislature; Fran Fox-Pizzonia, Candidate for Orange County Legislature.
Despite a heckler during some of the talks, the speakers continued to share their words of support for one another, for women across the country and calling out for change in legislation and allowing women access to abortion services and other medical needs.
Pam Valenza and Janine Fenton both shared their frustration with the law’s passing in Texas. “Basically outraged about stuff that’s going on in Texas. Women should have the right to make their choice for their own bodies,” Valenza said. “I can’t believe it’s 2021 and we have to do this fight again,” Fenton said. One of the marchers, Alisa Pacheco, came to the event dressed as a character from the Hulu series and book of the same name, The Handmaid’s Tale by author Margaret Atwood. “It feels great to know that, that we’re all marching together and we’re all in this together,” Pacheco said.