As shown by the leaked majority opinion draft, the Supreme Court is moving to carry out a huge attack on women’s rights and the rights of all people who need access to abortion services.
This is an attack not only on reproductive rights, but on women’s rights altogether. The right wing is trying to drive women, who make up a majority of the population, back to the pre-women’s liberation movement era.
As the labor movement slogan says, “An injury to one is an injury to all.” If the right to abortion is overturned, it would be a grave injury first and foremost to women, and at the same time an injury to all people oppressed by capitalism. It is an attack on transgender people and all LGBTQ people, all oppressed communities, poor people and the entire working class.
In this spirit, women and others in cities large and small have continued to come out into the streets all over the United States. Liberation News was there.
Party for Socialism and Liberation – Chicago joined thousands of people in the streets of downtown Chicago at noon on May 6. The demonstration started with a rally in Federal Plaza with a variety of speakers from organizations such as Chicago for Abortion Rights, the Chicago Teachers Union, the Clinic Vest Project and PSL – Chicago, as well as Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. Speaking to a cheering crowd, Aviva Levine of PSL said that overturning Roe v. Wade would just be the beginning, “They aren’t going to settle for just gutting abortion rights. Marriage equality is also on the chopping block. These rightwing forces that are moving to outlaw abortion are the same forces fighting to prevent trans people from competing in sports. They’re the same forces fighting to criminalize lifesaving gender-affirming care for trans youth. They’re the same forces fighting to make it a crime to even teach about the existence of LGBTQ people!” After the rally, people took to the streets and marched thorough Chicago’s Loop.
“Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate!” and other similar chants demanding safe and free abortion access brightened the cloudiness of the night sky and warmed the collective spirits of the nearly 2,000 people assembled in the Back Bay neighborhood of Copley Square in Boston on the chilly evening of May 7 at the “Defend Roe v. Wade!” rally called by the Boston branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Before and after an energetic march through commercial streets lined with supportive food service workers, speakers fired up the crowd with condemnations of the attack on abortion rights and commendations of the working-class power needed to enshrine all basic human rights into law.
Kate from Camberville 4 Abortion Access blasted a state law that bans abortions after twenty-four weeks, shattering the illusion that Massachusetts is a safe haven for people needing this vital healthcare procedure. PSL Boston member Meilyn Huq urged participants to overturn such inequitable legislation by “fighting for a system that’s not based on profit and the total domination of the few elites, but on the needs of everyone!” Highlighting the solidarity needed to win this systemic change, former Transgender Day of Remembrance organizer Mandy Wilkens led participants in a rallying cry: “Trans, cis, straight, gay — fight united everyday!”
On May 7, 1,000 people marched for the second time in one week in Denver in support of Roe v Wade and abortion access. The Party for Socialism and Liberation led the march of energetic and enthusiastic people through the downtown area as a Cinco de Mayo celebration went on nearby.
After rallying and marching, the protesters returned to the capitol. A PSL member announced that anyone interested in becoming an organizer should come sign up at the table, and people flocked there. Many mentioned remembering the PSL from the long fight for justice for Elijah McClain and being long-time supporters of the organization.
Moira Casados Cassidy, a Denver teacher and mother, spoke at the event: “I want to start by giving a shout out to the moms in the crowd — it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow and we should celebrate that. Of course, the question of what it means to care about mothers and children is relevant to abortion rights.
We all know where Republicans stand on this issue. They say they’re the biggest defenders of babies and children. And the Democrats claim to support women and mothers. But if these politicians truly cared about children, we would have free childcare, fully funded public schools, free diapers, free formula, and an end to child hunger. If these politicians truly cared about mothers we would have free healthcare, free prenatal care, free child delivery, lactation support, physical therapy and mental healthcare, and guaranteed paid parental leave.”
On May 7 at 2 p.m., the New York City branch of PSL organized an action of around 200 demonstrators in Manhattan to demand the right of abortion access for all. The action began with a rally in Union Square, then continued with a march twenty blocks to Herald Square in Midtown. Despite the continuous rain, protestors were energized by the speakers, some of whom criticized the government for funneling money into the military-industrial complex, while leaving working women without any kind of social support.
“The vast majority of who have abortions in this country are mothers,” PSL organizer Karina Garcia reminded the crowd. “That means they know what it’s like to raise a child in this country … where we don’t have healthcare, where we don’t have childcare, where are communities are getting paid poverty wages, where they spend the trillions of dollars that we create to start new wars!”
On the afternoon of May 7, upward of 700 people gathered at Powell and Market Streets in San Francisco. The community came out to answer the call to “Legalize Abortion, Once and for All!” The action ultimately culminated with a march to Dolores Park. Activists vehemently opposed the leaked undemocratic decision that determines the fate of hundreds of millions of women. “This decision impacts the most oppressed minorities in our country. It directly oppresses immigrant and poor women,” said Karen from the Party for Socialism and Liberation. People also exposed the façade of the Democratic Party, which poses as a defender of women rights. “The Democratic Party controls the presidency and both houses of Congress. What have they done for abortion rights? Absolutely nothing!” concluded Karen.
On May 6, Party for Socialism and Liberation of Springfield, Missouri, held an emergency rally in defense of abortion rights. The rally was held in Park Central Square from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Roughly 500 people joined in chants of “Abortion is healthcare!” and listened enthusiastically to a series of speakers from PSL, Planned Parenthood, MeToo Springfield and DSA. Throughout the speeches, the connection was drawn between the underlying systemic disease of capitalism and the current revoking of fundamental rights. After the speakers concluded, the crowd began to spontaneously march along the sidewalks of the square, marching for a full hour, chanting and waving signs.
Despite the rain, hundreds rallied at Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia and marched on the Federal Courthouse to demand legal, safe, and free abortions now! Members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Women’s Empowerment at Drexel University, Save the UC Townhomes Coalition, Socialist Alternative, Workers World Party, and others spoke to the crowd. One worker who was moved to join the demonstration as it passed through downtown told Liberation News, “[The Supreme Court], they don’t know or care about what your situation is. They don’t know if you have the resources to have and take care of a kid. It’s not their decision to make, it’s whoever’s body that is.”
San Diego: On May 6 nearly 100 students and community members gathered on campus at the University of California San Diego. The action was organized by UCSD Green New Deal. The Party for Socialism and Liberation, Groundworks Books and other community and student organizations attended in solidarity. Also in San Diego, on May 8, Breakfast Block Mutual Aid organized a demonstration attended by Socialist Alternative, the Party for Socialism and Liberation and other community organizations and activists — nearly 600 people in total. The action took place in San Diego’s Balboa Park and was well received by passersby, many of whom joined the march.
On May 7 at 4 p.m., PSL Tampa Bay organized a protest of around 100 to 150 people in downtown Tampa, Florida. The march started at the Federal Courthouse on Florida Ave. and marched to Curtis Hixon Park, a riverside park in downtown Tampa, and back to the courthouse. Marchers again took the street and concluded with a rally.
Around 100 people in St. Louis, Missouri, rallied May 7 at the only Planned Parenthood in the state. A diverse crowd of women, transgender people and supporters gathered at noon to express their discontent with the Supreme Court’s leaked draft decision. For about two hours members of the community were invited to share their stories and stand in solidarity with each other. Early in the action a small group of counter-protesters fled the scene at the mere sight of the organized crowd that had rallied.
Dozens of people gathered in downtown Yakima, Washington, on May 7 in defiance of the leaked Supreme Court decision tearing down reproductive rights. Yakima residents maintained that abortion is a human right!
Northeast Ohio Party for Socialism and Liberation, along with members of the community took to Public Square in downtown Cleveland on May 7, to mobilize and defend against the threat on Roe v. Wade.
In Ohio, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, it is likely that the “Heartbeat Bill” will be put into affect —prohibiting abortions after six weeks in Ohio. In March 2021, a trigger law was introduced to the Ohio House of Representative — House Bill 598, also known as the The Human Life Protection Act, banning abortions except in cases of rape and incest — has not yet been signed into law, but is pending legislation.
Statements of solidarity at the rally came from PSL members, abortion access workers and Cleveland residents. PSL member Claire Lewis said, “The people and the people alone can defend Roe v. Wade, reproductive rights and bodily autonomy.”
In Provo, Utah, 250 to 300 people marched from the Provo City Center Temple to Pioneer Park and back on May 6 starting at 5 p.m. The demonstration was organized by PSL Provo with support from Utah Valley Mutual Aid and ProvoPride. The protest was unprecedented in Provo, with demonstrators facing down counter-protesters and harassment in a notoriously conservative city that is 90% Mormon.
At 12 p.m. on May 8, PSL Champaign-Urbana co-sponsored a rally and march with Amnesty International in defense of reproductive rights. Beginning at Alma Mater at the University of Illinois campus, the 200 attendees heard speeches from Young Democratic Socialists of America, PSL, Graduate Employees Organization and Amnesty International. Starting to chant, the crowd marched through the city to the Champaign county courthouse, where Black Students for Revolution and another PSL speaker wrapped up the action.
On May 7, residents of California’s Central Valley turned out to fight for abortion rights. At noon, approximately 30 people attended the rally in Stockton, which was located directly across from the City Center shopping center. Jo Bailey, a resident of Stockton, stated, “I won’t go back to being barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen again! I’m 67 and I’m tired of fighting for this!” Another resident, Susan Christy, told Liberation News she was here fighting for the next generation: “I’m astonished that in 2022 we’re still fighting over the right to abortion as healthcare and that it’s been turned into such a taboo. I’ve had an abortion and I want my kids to know that it’s okay to do so.”
This Mother’s Day, May 8, a crowd of around 400 gathered in Town Square Park in Anchorage, Alaska. The crowd chanted, “The people united will never be defeated,” and rallied to demand access to abortion be codified. Speakers emphasized the far-reaching implications of overturning Roe v Wade and the threat this poses not only to women but also to trans and gender non-conforming people. Other points of emphasis were the dangers removing access to abortion would have in the state with the highest rate of sexual assault in the country and the systemic nature of the racist, patriarchal, and colonial oppression that capitalism depends on to survive.
On Mother’s day, May 8, members of socialist organizations, college students and community members of Potsdam, New York and the North County came together to protest the potential overturning of Roe v Wade. In the past 10 years local healthcare access has drastically declined. In recent years two hospital birthing wards, Massena and Malone, have closed, forcing women to leave their communities for essential healthcare. Protesters made their voices heard.
On May 7, 50 activists occupied the main corner of New Paltz, New York, to celebrate reproductive rights and protest against the leaked Supreme Court decision that will likely overturn Roe v Wade. The demonstration was called by New Paltz Women in Black. Accompanied by the brass band Tin Horn Uprising, demonstrators shouted slogans and danced their support for women’s rights. From middle school children to elderly women and men, the community was represented in its opposition to curbs on abortion. Passersby honked their enthusiasm and support.
In Columbus, Ohio, close to 700 people rallied on May 7 at 2 p.m. outside the Ohio Statehouse, led by PSL organizers from Columbus and Miami Valley. PSL speakers highlighted how the Democrats cynically use abortion rights to collect votes and donations while failing to codify Roe into law and how this overturn of Roe would create a precedent for degrading other rights. Ohio State’s Med Students for Choice touched on the physical and societal burden pregnancy inflicts upon the body and how these burdens are systematically neglected for women of color in the medical community. The crowd then took the downtown streets and marched to the Ohio Supreme Court. Once back at the Statehouse, community members spoke about their personal experiences seeking out abortions from as far back as pre-Roe and as recently as one week ago, while another member spoke about her experience as a former abortion provider.