Vashon community responds to new Texas
By Mackenzie Guadagno, Reporter
Content Warning: This article covers topics such as rape, domestic violence, and abortion access. If these topics are triggering for readers we implore you to stop reading.
On May 19, 2021 Texas governor, Greg Abbot signed the Texas Heartbeat Act into law, which restricts people from getting an abortion after 6 weeks. Since the law was passed, Vashon activists have organized protests and raised awareness for those negatively affected by the Heartbeat Act and its restrictions.
Local activist Kim Kambak runs the Bans Off Our Bodies protest. As a woman who has been an activist for most of her life, Kambak has a unique perspective on the best way to support the community.
“I believe that activism is part of being gifted enough to be able to reach out beyond who I am to help others,” Kambak said.
Some islanders oppose the Heartbeat Act, viewing the law as government overstep.
“I just believe that reproductive choice is something that all humans should have free access to, and that the government shouldn’t interfere with [our] bodies,” Kambak said.
The Bans Off Our Bodies protest aimed to educate people on Vashon about the Texas Heartbeat Act, but Kambak also hoped to gain off-island attention.
“When the Supreme Court [goes into session on October 4, 2021], they will realize that Americans, regardless of party, race, or sex, believe that there are certain aspects of human interaction that should not be governed … and I believe reproductive rights are one of those things,” Kambak said.
The organizers behind the Bans Off Our Bodies protest took to the streets to advocate for human reproductive rights.
“The issue with putting a time frame on abortion, [is] it takes the act of rape [and domestic violence] and makes it the only reason a pregnancy might be terminated. It almost sounds like if there’s violence against a woman involved, then [that’s the only reason] we’ll give her a free pass,” Kambak said. “…There could be many reasons why an individual doesn’t want to be pregnant. And I believe that that’s not my place to judge.”
The Bans Off Our Bodies protest isn’t the only pro-choice event happening on Vashon. Teen Council ran the “Walk For Lilith Fund”, on October 17. Teen Council is a high school group that dedicates their time to learning and teaching about sexual health and education through peer to peer learning. The Walk For Lilith Fund is a march that went from Ober Park to Burton, which represented a portion of the long trek many Texans will have to make in order to get an abortion.
Many Teen Council members were concerned about the effects the bill would have and what they could do to take action.
“I think that a lot of us were really worried and upset about the bill and trying to figure out what we were going to do about this, if we could do anything about it,” Teen Council member senior Katherine Kirschner said. “Currently, we’re working on a fundraiser plan so we can raise money to help pay for the cost of traveling out of [Texas]to get an abortion, [and] the variety of costs that come along with with making abortion harder to access,” Kirschner said.
Both The Bans off our Bodies protest and the Walk For Lilith Fund s were organized with the hope to make a difference, even if it was only a small one to support Texans who are affected by the new restrictions. Individuals who were unable to support this cause by going to the protests, contributed in other ways.
“I’ve been a member of letter writing campaigns, and I can send money to support non-profits or organizations that support reproduction rights and abortion rights. But I do think that just standing with other people is validating.” Kambak said.