A cross-section of UNT student groups gathered around the Denton Courthouse on Saturday afternoon to protest the “War on Women” waged by the Grand Ole Party in Texas and across the country.
About 40 students waved signs like “Jesus Never Shamed Women” and “Rick Perry, Hands Off My Healthcare,” and through chanting and short speeches declared their support for family planning clinics that provide healthcare services, including abortion.
The rally was organized primarily by RAGE, or Radical Alliance for Gender Equality, a UNT student group formed in October and focused on “direct action” for women’s rights, said Natalie Johnson, a founding member and UNT senior.
“We recognize women’s oppression as being rooted in a deeply capitalistic system,” Johnson said. “It’s a different kind of activism… I like that so many groups showed up today.”
Other groups at the rally include the UNT chapters of the International Socialist Organization and the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance and several groups not directly related to women’s rights, like the Denton Radical Activist Collective, which laid out signs protesting gas drilling within the city.
Two UNT students and self-described pro-lifers showed up with a sign and a six-foot-tall wooden cross in opposition to the rally.
“Killing an unborn child shouldn’t have to be part of healthcare,” said Alex Choyce, a sophomore, referring to a recent political fight between the White House and religious institutions that refuse to include contraceptives or abortion under health insurance plans offered to employees.
Another pro-choice supporter stood behind them holding a sign: “God is dead. Get over it.”