Women’s March is heading back to the streets this Saturday, two weeks after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Instead of protesting at the court or on the National Mall, though, the group will go to the White House to demand that the Biden administration take action to protect abortion access.
On Friday morning, President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing the Department of Health and Human Services to expand access to abortion care and other reproductive health services. The executive order also takes steps to protect patients from privacy violations, establish a task force on reproductive health care access, and convene pro bono lawyers to provide legal representation to patients and health care providers. Nonetheless, Women’s March executive director Rachel O’Leary Carmona said in a press statement on Friday that “waiting two weeks to give a speech and sign a piece of paper ain’t gonna cut it.”
The protest won’t be one of the usual mass marches the group holds. Instead, the organizers have described the event as a “targeted civil disobedience.” Women’s March also won’t take steps to avoid arrest this time, so here are some things you should know before protesting on Saturday.
When and where is it?
Attendees can start gathering at Franklin Square Park for a rally at 10 AM. The group will begin marching at noon along I Street and 16th Street towards Lafayette Park. Some protesters will continue toward the White House sidewalk, where they will hold a “peaceful demonstration” for about an hour before heading back to Franklin Square Park for another rally.
How many people are expected to attend?
According to the National Park Service, the organizers have planned for an expected attendance of 10,000 people. But the NPS has authorized between 400 and 1,000 people to protest on the White House sidewalk, while the other protestors and spectators remain at Lafayette Park.
How can you participate in the event?
Anyone interested in participating in the demonstration has to attend one of three mandatory training sessions before the protest. On Friday, there will be two sessions at All Souls Church at 6 PM and 7:45 PM. The final session will be held right before the rally at Franklin Square Park. But if you are under 18 years old, the organizers have requested that you sit this protest out to avoid being arrested and taken away from the group.
What should you bring?
The organizers advise protesters and spectators to bring as few items as possible. But you are encouraged to bring comfortable shoes, water, a snack, any prescription medications, a valid government ID, and cash for “post and forfeit” in case you are arrested. There will also be N95 masks, sunscreen, ear plugs, and other support items and accessibility resources available at the demonstration.
What are you not allowed to bring?
Organizers have asked people to forgo staples of past feminist and pro-abortion rights protests, such as Handmaid’s Tale and coat-hanger imagery. Women’s March has previously said that coat hangers “reinforce the right wing talking points that self-managed abortions are dangerous, scary, and harmful,” and that “Handmaid’s Tale” imagery characterizes the idea that barriers to reproductive rights are “dystopian.”
People are also discouraged from bringing items that they probably won’t need, such as jewelry, bags, and suitcases. Weapons and drugs—including cannabis—are also not welcome.