Student activists, protesters and organizers gathered at Stockmen’s Park in Livermore, California, on May 22 for a rally against the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that threats to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Several different groups attended the rally organized by young students, including Livermore Pride, Tri-Valley for Black Lives, Young Democratic Socialists of America at Livermore High School, Granada High School Human Rights Club, Students for Social Change and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
Protesters were outraged by the decision as it is being deliberated by nine unelected Supreme Court justices, which would strip away the rights of hundreds of millions in the United States. This deliberation is far from democratic since 72% of the nation supports the right to abortion. “I feel pretty helpless,” said a local high school student that attended the rally, “I’m allowed to start voting now but my voice won’t be heard.”
The demonstration had many speakers of various backgrounds, each sharing a unique viewpoint on the situation. Sheri Hennings, a local community member, critiqued the Supreme Court draft’s language about adoption numbers waning as it pertains to adoption as a recourse instead of abortion, saying, “this decision is a decision to commodify children,” and one that “legalizes child trafficking, and impacts the most marginalized in our community.”
Her words resonate with countless women across the nation, as many women who seek abortions do so because they simply can’t afford to raise the children they birth. “I was placed for adoption because my mother did not have the support she needed to keep me,” said Hennings, who further went on to state “I am not a commodity, and will not stand by and see other children be commodified.”
Other speakers included Zoey Sagun and Aryan Ohri, youth activists who also commented on the working-class nature of women who seek abortions. Sagun attacked the “pro-life” status of the ruling class saying that they push “their own ideals, because if they care about lives, then they would be anti-death penalty, they would support the Black Lives Matter movement, they would care about having free health care for all, they would want trans lives to be supported — they don’t care at all about your life.” Ohri, a student at Foothill High, claimed that “abortion is first a women’s issue, but it’s also a rich vs. poor issue. When we restrict those rights, we show that the government is waging a war against women and a war against the poor.”
While many were outraged, the tone of the rally was one of optimism as well. Peggy Folta, another community member, commented on the necessity of mobilizing and getting organized, saying that “people coming together and demonstrations like this, getting outside and getting our voices heard,” is what it will take to ultimately reverse this decision and keep abortion rights secure and legal for all.