Signs seen during Lincoln Women's March
Pictured are signs seen at the Women's March on Oct. 2 at the Nebraska State Capitol. Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.

Lincoln Women’s March organized a rally to defend women’s reproductive rights on Oct. 2 at the north side of Nebraska State Capitol. 

The march was hosted in response to the Texas Supreme Court’s decision to allow a sweeping law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy to go into effect on Sept. 1. This makes Texas one of the strictest states in terms of access to abortion services.  

The Biden administration filed an emergency motion in mid-September asking a judge to block enforcement of the law while it pursues legal action. On Oct. 6, U.S district Judge Robert Pitman ordered a temporary suspension of the sweeping law, known as Senate Bill 8, on grounds that it is an “offensive deprivation” of a woman’s right to exercise control over her own body. 

However, the 5th US Court of Appeals overturned Pitman’s ruling less than two days later on Oct. 8. The Biden administration has until Oct. 12 to respond.

Many of the protesters held signs that were critical of Gov. Pete Ricketts and his legislative decisions surrounding abortion rights in Nebraska.

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A rally participant holds up a sign that says abortions are part of women’s healthcare during the Women’s March on Oct. 2 at the Capitol. Following that is a profanity-laced statement about Gov. Pete Ricketts. Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.

In August 2020, he celebrated with pro-life leaders at the Nebraska State Capitol after passing legislation that bans second-trimester abortion in Nebraska. The bill, LB 814, describes the surgical process of dilating the cervix and removing the fetus after the first trimester, known medically as dilation and evacuation. It makes the practice a felony crime, punishable by up to two years in prison or a fine of $10,000.

Last month, the governor went on Twitter to congratulate Texas for its victory in passing one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. He said in a tweet posted on Sept. 2 that Nebraska is a pro-life state. 

Planning on pushing similar laws in Nebraska, Ricketts told News Channel Nebraska that his administration is currently “pulling together its legislative plans with pro-life leaders across the state.”

Meet the rally participants:

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Janet Krendal, 88, and her son, Mark Weddleton, 61, show up at the Capitol to support the rally. Krendal believes that abortion is an issue that is important to everyone, and the Nebraska government is not doing enough for abortion rights. She said nobody gets an abortion lightly, and it’s always done after deep consideration. “I hope abortion becomes available, safe and accepted,” Krendal said. Weddleton was delighted to be able to attend the rally with his mother. “My mother has always been an inspiration to me for her determination to speak out for justice,” said Weddleton. Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.
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Carmen Larson (front), a certified public accountant, sits with Nadine Forgey (back) as they wait for the rally to begin. “Women have to have the right to choose,” Larson said. “They have to have the ability to make decisions that are the best for them.” She believes that making abortion illegal is not the right choice for anybody. Forgey wishes people can understand that pro-choice doesn’t mean that there will always be an abortion. She hopes that the federal government will keep Roe v. Wade and that Nebraska doesn’t participate in Texas’ new abortion law. Both of them agreed the Nebraska government is not doing enough for abortion rights. “Well, they are doing too much,” Forgey corrected. “They are getting too involved. They should leave it alone.” Their signs say “Ruth sent us.” with pictures of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The justice was known throughout her entire life as a women’s rights advocate who strongly supported the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade to protect abortion rights across all states. Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS
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Ava Parrish (left), 11, stands with her cousin, Jaclyn Frisch, a 21-year-old biological science major at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, at Lincoln Women’s March on Oct. 2. Frisch’s sign is a reference to Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The series is set in a dystopian world where women have little to no rights to their own bodies. Frisch hopes the Nebraska government will become more lenient on abortion. “Hopefully, [the march] sparks outrage in the United States, especially in Texas right now with the six-week rule,” Frisch said. “A lot of people don’t even know they are pregnant at six weeks.” Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.
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Judy King, 70, is involved in a Pro-life Nebraska education initiative called Nebraska Benevolent Order of Nebraskans for Erection Reversal. The sign at her feet tells people to remember where the “no bone zone” is to prevent abortion. She is also passing out pamphlets with the title, “Preventing Irresponsible Ejaculation.” The tagline of the pamphlet is “Kill your boner. Save a life.” King describes herself as a pro-choice activist, but she has pro-life ideals as well. She said she’s different from a pro-life supporter because she cares about children after they are born. “My pro-life part is I care about babies and the lives of women,” she said. On the flip side, the pro-choice side of her believes that women have the choice to do whatever they want. Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.
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A 57-year-old Lincoln therapist who wishes to remain unnamed attends the Women’s March wearing an outfit resembling Ruth Bader Ginsberg, which she bought from Etsy. She works primarily with women with trauma. She said she is there at the rally for her two granddaughters so they don’t have to go through this again in 20 years. “I grew up in the 80s, and things were different,” the therapist said. “We had all the safety that we are going to lose right now.” She was able to take two of her friends to Planned Parenthood in the 80s because they didn’t have health insurance under their parents’ name. “They didn’t have anybody yelling at them,” she said, referring to anti-abortion protesters who sometimes gather outside the non-profit. This is her first time participating in a rally, and she is excited to see everyone coming together for one cause. “The governor is jumping right on board with Texas,” she said while shaking her head. “And that scares me. We gotta vote him out.” Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.
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Katrina Jagodinsky and her daughter, Skya, join the rally with banners they made themselves. Jagodinsky, an associate professor of history at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, wants people to know that she and her daughter support people’s rights to reproductive justice. She has been relying on Planned Parenthood for her healthcare since she turned 17. “Planned Parenthood is for everyone. Planned Parenthood is good parenting,” Jagodinsky said. For her, women’s rights equal human rights. Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.
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Dominique Liu-Sang, a member of Black Leaders Movement LNK, pictured, and KaDeja Sangoyele, a fellow BLM LNK member, taught hundreds of participants to chant: “We won’t take this anymore. Accountability cannot wait.” / “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Abortion bans have got to go!” / “No more silence. Stop the violence!” Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.
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(From left) Dru Macmillan, Mandy Sullivan and her daughter, Agatha, appear at the rally each holding a sign. Both Macmillan and Sullivan have been working as social workers since 2006. “I’ve seen a lot of women who have had their rights taken away,” Macmillan said. “And I’m not going to let anybody do that.” Sullivan doesn’t want to see Nebraska passing the same abortion law Texas did. “I don’t think abortion bans belong in Nebraska,” Sullivan said. “I think we can do better than that.” Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.
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KaDeja Sangoyele is one of the six speakers invited to speak at the rally. She started her speech by saying that reproductive rights aren’t just made for women. Trans men and non-binary individuals like her could get pregnant as well. Another issue she brought up is the lack of people of color at the rally. “I want you all to look around here,” she said. “Just take a look around. Looks real white, doesn’t it?” She raises the question of why Black people don’t feel comfortable and supported in these spaces. “We need to make sure you’re not just out here fighting for yourself,” Sangoyele said. “Advocacy doesn’t end with you. This advocacy is for the people.” At the end of her speech, Sangoyele urged the crowd to continue fighting for what they believe: abortion, healthcare, free tampons… “Fight for the things you think you can’t reach,” she said. “We can and we will.” Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.
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(From left) Zoe Docherty, Kaya Docherty and Kristin Steyer appear at the Women’s March at Nebraska State Capitol on Oct. 2. Zoe was inspired to make all three signs in less than an hour after realizing how abortion affects not only herself but so many different people. “I’ve been infuriated by the Texas abortion law for ages now,” Kaya said. It’s natural for teenagers to change their opinions on certain things as they grow and learn. Kaya is one of them. “I’m sad to say, but just last year, I was at a pro-life rally myself,” she said. Kaya found that the ideals of the Women’s March aligned better with what she believed in, and she felt so loved standing among the crowd. The teenager thought that it was sad how Zoe, who was only 14 years old, had to come out here to protect her own rights when she couldn’t even do anything listed on her sign yet. Unlike Zoe and Kaya, this is Kristin’s first time participating in a rally. She said that the three of them teared up as they drove up to the Capitol and saw hundreds of Lincolnites uniting for the same cause. Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.
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Joy Kjer of Lincoln holds her sign above her head before following the crowd as they marched around the Capitol. “I don’t wanna go back to the 50s or 60s,” Kjer said. She hopes that women get to preserve their constitutional right to control their bodies. She doesn’t understand why there are laws that blatantly violate that right. Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.

Take a look at the signs some participants carried during the rally:

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A rally participant holds up a sign that reads, “Hyde is trash” during the Women’s March on Oct. 2. Introduced in 1976, the Hyde Amendment blocks federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or threat to a women’s life. This amendment makes Medicaid ineligible to cover abortion even when a doctor recommends it. Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.
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Pictured is a profanity-laced sign directed at Gov. Pete Ricketts. Many participants disagree with the governor’s anti-abortion stance and his plans to introduce legislation similar to Texas Senate Bill 8 in Nebraska. Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.
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A rally participant carries a sign that says, “If you cut off my reproductive choice, can I, can I cut off yours???” as the crowd marches around the Capitol on Oct. 2. Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.
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A woman holds up a sign and faces K Street at the Capitol on Oct. 2. Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.
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Two rally participants hold up a black piece of cloth with the printing of a uterus and some flowers. “My body; my choice,” the banner reads. Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.
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Pictured is a sign seen at the Lincoln Women’s March on Oct. 2 that says, “Abortion is healthcare. Abortion is a right.” Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NSS.
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Rally participants are seen on the steps at the north side of the Capitol with their signs as they wait for the march to begin. Most of the pink signs are provided by American Civil Liberties Union. Photo by Chin Tung Tan/NNS.
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