Wednesday, October 27, 2021
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Flathead march for reproductive rights planned in Whitefish

| October 1, 2021 1:50 PM

A number of anti-reproductive health laws are set to take effect in Montana today, Oct. 1, and in response, on Saturday, Oct. 2, five communities across Montana will be hosting marches to defend reproductive rights — the Flathead Valley, Helena, Billings, Great Falls and Missoula.

Each group is coordinating with the National Women's March organization, which is sponsoring nearly 700 marches around the country. In the Flathead Valley, a march is being held in Whitefish, beginning at noon Saturday. The group will meet on Baker Avenue in front of Whitefish City Hall, and will march to Baker Park along Baker Avenue in Whitefish for a short program including speakers representing and working on reproductive rights. Programming will include speakers, action steps and voter registration.

“Abortion is essential health care and we need to keep it accessible to all Montanans,” local organizer Jamie Gougen said in a press release. “New legislation in Montana, Texas and Florida seeks to take away individual rights and divide the country. The privacy and decision-making between a doctor and patient is sacred. Individuals must have the right to make their own choices — choices that will forever affect their bodies and their future. These people are our mothers, sisters, friends and families. We must trust that they know what is right for their situation. They need our support. Surely we can all find unity in personal freedom and affordable and accessible health care for women."

The Whitefish program will include stories from individuals about their personal experiences with reproductive health, including presentations from Jamie Gougen and Sami Francine of Whitefish, and Hilary Shaw, social justice community activist.

Information about reproductive legislation and legislative work at the state level will be presented by Kyle Waterman of Kalispell and Montana Congressional candidate Monica Tranel.

Organizations supporting voter rights and reproductive rights also will be set up at the park to provide information about their missions until approximately 3 p.m. People who are not able to be present, but who want to support reproductive rights, can give directly to All Families Health Clinic at https://www.allfamilieshealth.org/donate.

In accordance with Whitefish Health Department guidelines, masks will be required outdoors at this event.

The Flathead Valley March is presented by a grassroots organization that maintains a Facebook page at “Flathead Valley March for Reproductive Rights." A variety of other organizations and individuals are hosting the marches through various Facebook pages and the womensmarch.com website.

For more information about the Flathead Valley March, contact event facilitator Nikki Eisinger at 310-913-4589 or email nikki.eisinger@icloud.com.