Militant Journalism

Activists demand abortion rights as President Biden fundraises in Chicago

On May 11, as Senate Democrats failed to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, President Joe Biden visited Chicago to fundraise for the Democratic National Committee. Party for Socialism and Liberation Chicago organized a rally and speak out downtown to demand abortion rights. The chain of events leading up to the rally was yet another slap in the face to working-class people and a reminder of exactly where Democratic priorities lie.

“How is it pro-life that Biden is here in Chicago at a fundraiser with a $25,000 minimum during a critical time when lifesaving health care is under attack?” Candice Choo-Kang of PSL asked a group of around 50 activists and attendees.

The failure of the Democrats to defend abortion rights after last week’s Supreme Court leak and nationwide protests was a theme of the rally. “What do the Democrats do? They tell us to go vote! They tell us we need to get out to the polls in November. Our rights are on the line right now! We can’t wait until November!” said Aviva Levine, an organizer with PSL. She went on to remind the crowd, “Thousands of people across the country have taken to the streets in outrage over the past week … Momentum is building, and if we keep it up, we can win.”

Another theme echoed by the speakers was the connection between the struggle for abortion rights and all struggles under capitalism. Activist Linda Winter of PSL spoke on the demands of mothers everywhere, “When we choose to have children and start families, we want resources available to us so our families and children can thrive. What do current and future mothers want? We want universal health care!” Winter went on to list the abominable maternal mortality rates in the United States, with Black and Brown working-class women being most affected.

Linda Winter of PSL speaks out on abortion rights at a rally in Downtown Chicago 5/11 as President Biden attends a nearby fundraiser. Liberation photo
Linda Winter of PSL speaks out on abortion rights at a rally in downtown Chicago, May 11 as Pres. Biden attended a nearby fundraiser. Liberation photo

After Choo-Kang called to abolish the Supreme Court, she raised the questions, “How is it pro-life that the Supreme Court enacted qualified immunity for police officers to mercilessly murder Black and Brown people with impunity? How is it pro-life that the Biden administration ended funding for COVID relief but pours millions of dollars into war every day?”

Organizers led chants that rang out across Michigan Avenue and opened up the mic for a speak out, encouraging anyone to share why the abortion rights struggle is important to them. A few attendees were inspired enough to speak and shared their experiences with abortion and why they attended the rally. One person even discussed being raised in the fanatical “pro-life” movement, and the path that led them to become an abortion rights activist. Different perspectives from different backgrounds were shared, yet the overarching theme was clear: legalize abortion for once and for all!

The rally demonstrated yet again that working-class people will continue to organize and protest until the fight for abortion rights has been won. “We can defend Roe and with it all of our rights. Let’s never forget the power of the people in motion — and let’s stay outraged, stay motivated, stay dedicated and stay in the streets!” said Levine to resounding cheers, claps and drum beats. After the rally, a few attendees stayed to discuss upcoming actions while the rest left more motivated and energized than ever to keep up the fight. Chicago activists continue to prove that they will not cower to the ruling class and that their struggle will remain on the streets.

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