Philadelphia protesters march for abortion rights on International Women’s Day

Dozens of protesters took to the streets of Philadelphia advocating for abortion rights and women’s rights abroad.

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A group of people march down a street in a protest for women's rights in Iran and Afghanistan and abortion rights in the U.S.

Protesters marched for abortion rights in Center City on March 8, 2023 for International Women's Day. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

Protesters marched through Philadelphia for International Women’s Day, demanding abortion rights protections in the U.S. and advocating for women’s rights in Iran and Afghanistan.

Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights organized Wednesday’s march from the Liberty Bell to City Hall, along with Afghans of Philly and Philly Iran.

Last May, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, declaring that the constitutional protection to abortion no longer exists. Since then, 12 states across the United States have declared abortion illegal, while many others have restricted access or prohibited abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

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Koyuki Chen is with Rise Up and helped organize Wednesday’s march. While addressing protesters near Independence Hall, she said people should “not accept the status quo in our society,” and work together to restore abortion rights.

“We are fighting for not only our rights, our girls’ rights, our queer friends’ rights, our brothers, our sisters, our siblings,” Chen said. “We are fighting for the whole shebang and a different world is possible.”

Koyuki Chen speaks into a microphone.
Koyuki Chen asked women along Market St. to join in the march for International Women’s Day on March 8, 2023. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

Abortions are accessible with few restrictions in New Jersey and Delaware. In Pennsylvania, abortion is allowed through the 23rd week of pregnancy, and after that time in certain cases when the health of the pregnant person is in danger.

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In August 2021, the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan. Women’s rights have been greatly restricted since, including banning Afghan women from receiving a college education. They are also blocked from working in most sectors and are required to cover themselves in public.

Farwa Ahmadi is the director of AOPxSola, an organization focused on connecting Afghans with each other in Philadelphia. She compared the Islamic extremism her family escaped to rising Christian nationalism in the U.S.

“I feel like they’re two sides of the same coin,” Ahmadi said. “It’s just men in power and men using religion … using a belief to manipulate people and take away women’s rights.”

AOPxSola Director Farwa Ahmadi speaks into a microphone.
AOPxSola Director Farwa Ahmadi addressed protesters near Independence Hall on March 8, 2023. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

Protests took place across the globe on Wednesday.

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