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The fight back to defend abortion rights begins

Reports from the front

Tempest follows up on last week’s series of reports from the front with additional abortion rights protests and more upcoming actions this weekend around the country in response to the leaked draft Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Chicago, IL

Contributions by Glenn Allen and others.

On Saturday, May 7, approximately 5000 people rallied in Chicago to defend abortion rights. The rally began in Chicago’s Federal Plaza, overflowing the space. The event was co-hosted by a broad coalition including left-wing groups like Chicago for Abortion Rights and large liberal groups such as Chicago NOW and Women’s March Chicago. Members of CDSA SocFem also attended and spoke from the stage. Chicago DSA had a large contingent, leading the march down Michigan Avenue with banners and chants, including a large Rosa Luxembourg banner from SocFem reading ‘Workers of the World Unite’. The crowd was majority female with a large number of gender non-conforming folks. Almost all the signs were filled hand-made, with slogans such as ‘Keep Your Misogyny off of my Uterus’, ’Trans and non-binary people need abortions’, and ‘Abortion is Healthcare’. We marched through the busy Chicago Loop, down Michigan Avenue, ending at a large meeting spot at Ida B Wells Drive. More speeches were delivered at the same location where the Occupy movement had met. A series of further rallies have been planned, the next for this upcoming Saturday, May 14.

[The original version of the Chicago report mistakenly identified CFAR as a “liberal organization,” which improperly characterizes the breadth of the radical, socialist, and feminist politics of the group. It has also brought to the editors attention that the original report may have both misrepresented the role of CFAR in organizing the event, and mis-identified Illinois NOW as a co-sponsor of the May 7 rally. We apologize for these errors. – Eds.]

Photo by XXX.

Madison, WI

Report by Benjamin Ratliffe

On May 7, abortion defense activists from DSA-Madison Socialist Feminist Working Group, the University of Wisconsin BIPOC Coalition, and Feed the Future led a spirited rally at the statehouse that drew about 500 participants. There were many other groups in attendance brandishing banners and tabling and the crowd was mostly young and culturally diverse.

Activists are brainstorming the next steps. One member of the Socialist Feminist Working Group included in their speech from the front the idea of boycotting and picketing local businesses known to fraternize with the anti-choice movement. In particular, the Tavern League of Wisconsin is a big GOP donor and has supported the group Pro-Life Wisconsin’s legal actions in the past. Convincing businesses to withdraw membership (thus, money) from the Tavern League could be one lever abortion defenders can use to bring political and economic pressure to bare while we build this movement.

Hanover, NH

Report by Nancy Welch

On the green of Dartmouth College, a multigenerational crowd rallied Wednesday, May 11 at an abortion rights rally that included an open mic and a march down “Fraternity Row” to the mansion of the college president who has remained aloof to rampant sexual violence on campus and the pending repeal of Roe. Organized by Dartmouth Graduate Women in Science and Engineering and co-sponsored by Upper Valley DSA, Dartmouth YDSA, Dartmouth’s program for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Dartmouth CARES, the rally featured stories from people on the front lines of the struggle to win abortion rights in 1973. Also stepping up to the open mic were graduate students who testified on how forced births would derail their work to bring the much-needed perspectives of women and nonbinary and trans people into science. Also prominent were ninth-graders from Hanover High School who spoke movingly–and tearfully–of the importance of full reproductive rights for their mothers and for their generation. Dartmouth graduate student Sasha Brietzke, a plaintiff in a successful multi-million class-action suit against the college for its failure to protect more than one hundred students against three faculty sexual predators, raised aspirations by pointing to recent labor victories at Amazon, Starbucks, and for Dartmouth’s own Student Worker Collective. “Abortion rights,” she emphasized, “are workers’ rights.” News that the proposed federal law to protect abortion went down to defeat in the U.S. Senate earlier in the day did not diminish the crowd’s defiance. “It was such a moving rally, bringing together 78-year-olds and 14-year-olds” said Annelise Orleck, Dartmouth professor of labor and women’s history, adding “We have so much to do.”

Featured Image Credit: Photo by ShyCityNikon, modified by Tempest.

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