Women's March cancels Handmaid's Tale imagery from rally over its use by white women

The choice to attempt to remove these displays was met with outcry from Twitter users, with some saying they chose not to attend the event over the rule change.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Saturday, the Women's March held its first post-Trump event to protest Texas' recently enacted abortion law. Preceding the event, which began at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC, with a Rally for Abortion Rights, rally organizers urged attendees to not use imagery of coat hangers and The Handmaid's Tale during Saturday's protest—imagery that has been prominent at past events.

"We don't use coat hangers or coat hanger imagery because we don't want to accidentally reenforce right-wing talking points that self-managed abortions are dangerous, scary and harmful," the organization wrote on Twitter.

"Handmaid's Tale imagery has proliferated, primarily by white women, in recent years. This message erases the fact that Black, undocumented, incarcerated, poor, & disabled women have always had their reproduction controlled in America. It's not some dystopian future or past," they continued.

The choice to attempt to remove these displays was met with outcry from Twitter users, with some saying they chose not to attend the event over the rule change.

Despite urges from organizers, some attendees still appeared in the staple Handmaid's Tale red cloaks and white hats, with others bearing signs featuring coat hangers.

The rally at Freedom Plaza rally featured a number of speakers, including actress and activist Alyssa Milano.

While Milano took time to slam leaders and officials like Governors Greg Abbott, Brian Kemp, and Ron DeSantis, as well as Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, she used her speech to ask what men were doing to protect abortion rights.

"Women are under attack almost entirely by men. What the f**k are you gonna do about it? It's great that you're here. Thank you so much for being here. But please don't mistake marching, showing up for a single event with being an effective ally in this fight," said Milano.

"How many of you made calls to your legislators? How many women have you voted for? How many women have you hired, promoted? mentored? If you're in a religion that oppresses women, have you confronted your clergy? How much money are you planning to give to Planned Parenthood to narrow to the era coalition or the Women's March Action Fund?" Milano questioned the men in the audience.

"You need to take action and keep taking action until this is all fixed. Use your privilege to destroy your own privilege," she continued.

Following the rally, protestors marched across DC to the Supreme Court, where they were met with pro-life protestors and a large police presence separating the groups, some police sporting riot gear.

As the march reached its concluding area past the Supreme Court, rally organizers strongly urged that march attendees not engage with the counter-protestors that had formed at the end of the route.

"Please don't engage them, this is what they want," said one organizer. "When they go low, we go high."

"You will not change any hearts and minds in this," she continued, as a march attendee and a counter-protestor bearing a "Pro-BIPOC, Pro-LGBTQ, Pro Life" sign debated.

The protest was held in response to the Texas Heartbeat Act that went into effect on Sept. 1 after the Supreme Court denied an emergency request to block the bill. The controversial pro-life bill bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which usually occurs around the sixth week of pregnancy.


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