Local News & Events

“It’s Time to Mess With Texas” – Eugene Community Comes Together for Reproductive Rights

On October 2, the residents of Lane county came together in front of the Wayne Lyman Morse Federal Courthouse as one of many Women’s March protests across the nation in support of reproductive rights. 

By the scheduled 2 p.m. start time, there was already a sizable group of over 100 protesters with signs holding space on 8th Ave. in front of the courthouse and across the street. As time progressed, the crowd quickly grew to around 300 people, overtaking all four corners of the intersection and both center medians. 

Supporters hold signs across the street from the Federal Courthouse. [Mary Bell // Double Sided Media]

Within half an hour, dissenting counter-protesters began driving by the protests — with some making several passes throughout the afternoon.

The first was a lifted black Chevrolet Silverado 2500. Both it’s driver and passenger excitedly flipped-off the crowd as they drove by leading to many reciprocating fingers to go up in response. 

Counter-protesters in a lifted black Chevrolet Silverado flip-off the crowd as they drive through. [John Adair // Double Sided Media]
Supporters of reproductive rights reciprocate middle fingers as counter-protesters in a lifted black Chevrolet Silverado flip-off the crowd as they drive through. [John Adair // Double Sided Media]

Another vehicle of counter-protesters was a red Dodge Ram with both a skull decal and a “Blue Lives Matter” decal on the rear window. They drove through Coburg Rd. at least twice and once through 8th Ave. 

A red Dodge Ram drives through the crowd with a both a skull and “Blue Lives Matter” decal on the rear window. [John Adair // Double Sided Media]

At one point, a man riding a motorcycle with a sidecar turned the corner from 8th Ave. onto Coburg Rd. at such a speed that he either intentionally—or not, nobody could tell—ended up on two wheels angled toward the crowd on the median.   

There were some really lighthearted moments, too. Especially when GG’s Soft Serve turned on their ice cream truck’s jingle drove by, thrilling the crowd into cheer.

Shortly thereafter, around 3 p.m., a group of five drummers arrived and drove the tempo of the protest into a rhythmic beat. 

At around 3:30 p.m., an impromptu march began. 

The crowd—which had greatly thinned out—marched on the sidewalk through the closing Saturday Market chanting “my body, my choice” and arrived at Kesey Square, continued chants of “it’s time to mess with Texas,” and responded to passing vehicle’s honks of support.  

They stayed about 20 minutes and were on the move, again, towards The Whitaker neighborhood. The event ended as the crowd grew even smaller as people split-off from those who were hungry and seeking replenishment.

Oregonians are no stranger to showing up for reproductive rights. In 1970, Oregon became one of the few states to offer legal abortion — albeit in limited circumstances. 

While reactionary governments attacked, restricted, and punished those seeking abortion following Roe v. Wade, Oregon stood its ground. In 2017, the Reproductive Health Equity Act was voted into law, tearing down both financial and institutional barriers to healthcare. Income status no longer determines accessibility. All Oregonians—U.S. citizens or not—have the right to an abortion.

And today, the Eugene community reminded this country which side of the line they are on.

James Croxton

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