Socorro’s plaza was filled with signs with slogans like “Don’t tread on my uterus” and “Girls just wanna have fundamental rights” during a rally for reproductive rights Saturday.
Locals gathered to rally in response to the Texas ban on abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detected, which can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The Supreme Court declined to block the Texas measure, allowing it to go into effect in September.
A small group of women with signs reading “Protect the vulnerable” and “A person is a person no matter how small,” gathered in Isidro Baca Park to pray opposite the rally.
Rally organizer Cindy Madrid, president of the Socorro County Federation of Democratic Women, said she believes abortion access is a civil rights issue. The rally was one of many Women’s Marches across the country Saturday, including in Albuquerque and Las Cruces.
“I would like to bring awareness to Socorro that we are a rural area, we may be having women passing through our churches here that are looking for help on their way to Albuquerque,” said Madrid.
Madrid anticipates an increase in women coming from Texas to get abortions in New Mexico. She’s concerned about the state’s capacity to manage that increase. While New Mexico has some of the least restrictive abortion laws in the country, the state’s surgical abortion providers are all located in Albuquerque.
“We have to become aware that we may have a population of women in trouble and in pain and in stress,” said Madrid. “We’re going to have to put our time, our resources, our money towards the compassionate and wise thing to do.”
Pam Cordova and Joann Romano made signs in the shade before the rally began. Cordova came from Belen to attend because it was the closest rally she could find.
“I am here to fight for women’s reproductive rights, so we have a right to make the health decisions for our own bodies and I want to make sure that we keep abortions safe and legal,” said Cordova.
“So many women have died, of infections and it gives me the chills just thinking about it,” said Romano.
The rally featured local musicians like Magdalena singer Bethany Lumos.
“When she found herself in a family way, she made the hardest decision that she had ever made,” Lumos sang to the crowd.
Across the street, Joy Miler was one of six counter-protesters who came to pray.
“We just came to pray because we all think that life is important,” said Miler. “We think that the life of a woman is important, and we think the life of an unborn baby is important.”
Melba Aguilar also came to pray, and she was also worried about an increase in abortions in New Mexico.
“I strongly believe that every life is valuable, that every life deserves to be protected and valued and supported and I absolutely believe that means through their lifespan,” said Aguilar.