In June, the Supreme Court overturned the historic Roe v Wade decision, ending nearly 50 years of legal abortion access in the United States. In immediate response to the ruling, mass protests erupted around the country. Since then, right-wing state legislatures have begun to implement so-called “trigger laws,” as well as pass or attempt to pass new laws banning abortion even in cases of rape, incest or to save the health of the mother. At the end of the summer, Oct. 8 was identified as a National Day of Action for abortion rights by the national Women’s March organization. In cities across the United States, Liberation News was there.
New York City
Hundreds gathered in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan to demand the restoration of abortion rights, to abolish the filibuster, to repeal the racist Hyde Amendment, and to provide abortion access as a National Emergency in federal facilities. The action was called by the Party for Socialism and Liberation and Breaking the Chains, and was endorsed by the Audre Lorde Project, the Latina Institute, Damayan Migrant Workers and the People’s Forum. “No one gets to tell you what to do with your body, especially not white, racist, classist men! We’re not fighting for today. We’re fighting for generations to come. We’re not demanding for access to abortion — we’re asking for the expansion of our democratic rights, our human rights!” exclaimed Claudia De La Cruz, co-executive director of The People’s Forum.
As many as 1,000 people gathered in Cal Anderson Park for a rally and march downtown sponsored by the Seattle Democratic Socialists of America, and endorsed by a wide range of organizations including the Seattle Education Association, Socialist Alternative, Party for Socialism and Liberation and the Puget Sound Mobilization for Reproductive Justice. Dawnelle Wilkie, a shop steward with Washington Federation of State Workers Local 304 and a member of the Puget Sound Mobilization for Reproductive Justice, told Liberation News, “Workers rights are women’s rights” as she explained why she was calling for comprehensive sex education, access to gender-affirming medical care, expanded abortion funding and living wages.
In Chicago, more than 500 marched and rallied for legalized abortion nationally, starting at the Federal Plaza at noon at an action sponsored by Chicago for Abortion Rights. Co-sponsors included All Options Pregnancy Resource Center-IN, South Side Birth Center, Chicago Teachers Union, National Nurses United and the Brave Space Alliance Workers Union.
Martese Chism, National Nurses United stated, “Striking down on abortion rights is from the same play book, southern strategy, that struck down on our civil rights. And that’s why this fight is dear to me, because it is the same struggle. And we didn’t back down when they took our rights. And I’m here as a living testimony, especially for the young people to let you all know — the civil rights movement was led by students. My mother was a youth in her 20s and she took me to march with Stokely Carmichael [Kwame Ture ] fighting for voting rights. And I’m here to let the young people know, let everyone know — stay in the struggle cause when you stay in the struggle in the end — it might look dark now but in the end we’re gonna be winning. We’re gonna win, it’s gonna be victorious.”
As many as 400 people met at Pioneer Courthouse Square and marched to city hall for a speak out to demand the restoration of abortion rights once and for all! Inspired by the Women’s March and “Women’s Wave” national call, participating organizations in the speak out included PSL, International Women’s Alliance and Gabriela Portland. Hundreds of working-class people gathered in downtown Portland for a march on October 8 to demand that abortion rights be restored. Many speakers took a stand in front of city hall to make their voices heard. The people will fight for our right to abortion, free and on demand, without apology!
More than 200 people assembled at the Massachusetts State House in downtown Boston, mobilized by the Young Democrats and RiseUp4AbortionRights. Members of PSL led the marching crowd, which was diverse in its political orientations, in high-energy chants in the middle of Quincy Market on a busy Saturday afternoon. Later, once the march had reached the end of its route, “pro-life” demonstrators began to get confrontational with the crowd and members of PSL redirected energy away from the fringe counterprotest and into a rally around a message of revolutionary optimism: We take back our rights the same way they were initially won — by staying in the streets!
Long Beach, LA County, California
About 200 people protested against the overturning of Roe v. Wade at the Deukmajian Federal Courthouse in Long Beach at an action called by the Women’s March. Carmen Rene Flores, a Long Beach community member and program speaker, said about the struggle for reproductive rights: “I find comfort in history because I feel like you can learn lessons, I feel like you can grow, I feel like you can learn what not to do and what to do. So I use history to look for what we should do moving forward. We’re living the legacy of marching, of speaking in the public view, and using our word of mouth to spread the cause.”
Some 200 people came out to Main Street Garden Park, mobilized by Dallas Protesters to say “We demand our rights.” Participant Tom Grau said, “Every year, the Democrats and Republicans find the political will for war, billions of dollars for bombs, bullets, and for racist policing, and then throw pennies at communities devastated by climate catastrophe, pennies for those suffering in Puerto Rico under U.S. colonization and privatization. The Democrats give lip service to immigrant rights, lip service to prison reform, to the decriminalization of marijuana, to reproductive rights!”
Mobilized by the Women’s Wave, Detroit with the support of the Women’s March some 100 people marched in support of Proposition 3, the state ballot initiative supporting abortion rights in Michigan. Gathering at the Levin U.S. Courthouse, demonstrators rallied and marched. Marcher Sam Schaeffer of PSL said, “Voting YES on PROP 3 this November will make abortion a constitutional right in Michigan. This achievement will be the first of its kind in the United States.”
San Antonio, Texas
About 140 people assembled at Milam Park — Plaza del Zacate — for a rally and march called by the Women’s March and endorsed by Mujeres Marcharan, Planned Parenthood, Radical Registrars, Autonomous Brown Berets, Equality Texas and PSL. The focus was on passing a resolution making Bexar County an Abortion Rights Sanctuary and using federal property for this health care procedure. Directly after the march, PSL held a public meeting as many people wanted to get involved and stay involved.
Over 100 people came together at city hall to rally in support of abortion rights. “It is shameful that I am growing up in a country where I have fewer rights than my mother,” said Alice J., rally organizer.
About 50 people rallied at the Harris County Courthouse, mobilized by grassroots organizers inspired by the Women’s March call to action. PSL members focused on signature gathering for statewide abortion demands, talking to everyone who showed up to the rally.
As many as 100 people came together on Oct. 8 at the Federal Courthouse in Covington to rally and march for a ‘NO’ vote on Amendment 2, a statewide anti-abortion measure. The action was called by the Women’s Wave. PSL members hit the streets speaking to hundreds of people at this rally and three others over the course of three days, organizing against the state constitutional amendment that would further damage reproductive rights in Kentucky.
Between 75 to 100 people came out to Market Square Park for a march and rally called by the Women’s March. The theme of the action was abortion rights, and focused on supporting pro-choice Democratic candidates in the upcoming election.
Around 50 to 60 people gathered for a march and rally at Arlington City Hall, called by a mix of independent organizers. Demands included: Pass the GRACE Act locally, stop the statewide attack on women and guarantee bodily autonomy at the federal level. PSL member Jasmin spoke at the rally: “Right-wing fascists have told us what they want to do and Democrats did nothing. Well, starting now there will be no more debate. We will not beg for our rights from fascists, we will not argue with bigots, and we will not negotiate our bodily autonomy, we will assert it.”
Iowa City, Iowa
Some 50 people came out for a rally for reproductive justice called by Corridor Action Network and Repros for Iowans. Liz, a member of PSL, said, “Those that seek to control our bodies and our lives fear us when we speak out! They fear us when we say ‘NO’ and we say no to oppression!”
Des Moines, Iowa
On the same day in Des Moines, PSL members and supporters did reproductive justice outreach at the Farmers Market.
About 30 people rallied in downtown Pensacola outside of the Federal Courthouse mobilized by Pensacola Abortion Rights Taskforce. Participants called for federally enshrining abortion rights, reopening the local abortion clinic and changing the cultural stigma around abortion. PART organizer Robin Blyn said, “Together we can end the reign of the Dobbs decision, and we can bequeath to the next generation the reproductive justice that we are being denied.”
People mobilized by the Tri-Cities Womxn’s March rallied in support of abortion rights. Speeches were given at Volunteer Park before demonstrators marched to Franklin County Courthouse to protest and chant.