An abortion-rights rally organized by the Santa Clarita Valley Democrats was met with anti-abortion protesters at the intersection of Valencia Boulevard and McBean Parkway on Thursday.
Approximately 100 total attended with each side of the street having about the same number of people. The abortion-rights rally occupied the northeast corner of the intersection, while the anti-abortion protest occupied the southeast corner.
On the south side of the street, signs held read “Rally for Life,” “Abortion is murder,” and “Unborn lives matter,” while on the north side of the street, signs held read “Protect the pill,” “Codify Roe now,” and “Bans off our bodies.”
Organizing the anti-abortion counter-protest were Cindy Josten and Pastor Jerry Cook. Organizing the abortion-rights rally were SCV Democrats Vice Chair Jenna Sickenius and Chair Andrew Taban.
Cook said the reason he, and others, were there was because their beliefs were interlinked with their faith.
“We believe in the principle of thou shalt do no murder. That is something that is both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, and that we believe that abortion is essentially murder,” said Cook. “We don’t believe in the euphemism of medical procedure, or a woman’s right to choose. We will believe those are euphemistic terms to cover up for the real thing — which is the murder of an unborn child.”
Sickenius said the rally was held in anticipation of the 2024 election, which they hope will be the one that unseats Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita.
“I think people are starting to get revved up and people are concerned … we’re seeing what the Republican Party is willing to do and they’ve made it very clear that if they take over the White House, the Senate and Congress, they will work hard to make sure a national ban on abortion is in their file,” said Sickenius. “So I think a lot of people are concerned.”
Tensions occasionally rose when someone crossed the street to the other side. Some of the verbal disagreements became heated. On the anti-abortion side a tense moment came about when a man wearing an anti-Donald Trump shirt began taking pictures. While the moment was heated, it did not escalate to violence.
Each side was asked if they felt concerned that there were so many in Santa Clarita who believed the opposite of them. Neither said they were.
“It doesn’t concern me. I think what you’re seeing here is a great display of America,” said Cook. “You’ve got one side that opposes what we oppose, and what we support and of course, we oppose what they support and the good thing is, in America, we can do that.”
“I think the difference here is they are a vocal minority. They show up at the City Council, they show up at school board (meetings) and they say what they believe is correct,” said Taban. “But the reality is the state of California and the 27th Congressional District reaffirmed that abortion access is a key voting element for them and I’m not concerned that the minority typically is vocal.”