Across the United States, thousands of people came out into the streets in emergency demonstrations to say, “We won’t go back! We will fight back!” in response to the leaking of a draft majority decision from the Supreme Court, which indicates the majority intends to overturn the historic Roe v. Wade decision which essentially made abortion legal in this country.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation and other organizations including Planned Parenthood, the Women’s March, Democratic Socialists of America, Socialist Alternative and others called for emergency “day after” protests. In cities large and small, people turned out, many of them young women, ready to fight back. Liberation News was there.
The protests started at 12 a.m. (midnight), May 3 in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.
At least 5,000 demonstrators rallied in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 3 during the day in response to a heroic individual leaking the draft decision to end abortion rights by overturning the Roe v Wade decision, and the later Casey decision. Dozens of organizers and speakers were demanding action be taken to finally codify Roe v. Wade into federal legislation. Chants of “Not the church, not the state, women will decide their fate!” rang out in the streets as speakers connected this issue not only to the fight for women’s liberation, but the fight against poverty itself.
PSL organizer Kelsey reminded the crowd, “People are going to be incarcerated for choosing the fate of their own bodies … There are people making money off of their prison labor. The government makes money off of people being incarcerated!” The entire system of capitalism and its criminalization of poverty is central to the issue of abortion access and women’s liberation.
Almost 1,000 people gathered at the intersection of Powell and Market Streets in downtown San Francisco the evening of May 3. Protesters rallied before a fiery march to the Women’s Building in the Mission District. Speakers from the Democratic Socialists of America, the Malaya Movement and the Party for Socialism and Liberation expressed outrage at the U.S. government and advocated the need for a mass movement. Nathalie Hrizi, editor of Breaking the Chains magazine, addressed the crowd at the Women’s Building: “We are the way change happens. This right here is the beginning of something we can’t let stop.”
Nearly 2,000 people gathered in front of the U.S. Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles on the evening of May 3 and marched to Pershing Square. The march was organized by PSL Los Angeles. Several community leaders and organizers took to the mic, including GABRIELA LA, KmB, DSA-LA among others. PSL member, Marissa Sanchez, told the crowd, “The Supreme Court shows we do not have a democracy in this country. This country is run on hypocrisy because abortion is a fundamental right. Abortion is a health care right and more. If we don’t have the right to control abortions, we don’t have control over our bodies.” Katrina Heyrana of GABRIELA LA connected the U.S. struggle to the international struggle by describing that “Twice as many people die in the Philippines every year from illegal abortions than in the United States … This could be where we are going if we don’t fight back against this incredible oppression by the Supreme Court,” emphasizing the clarion call to organize and resist in the current moment.
In New York City on May 3, an angry crowd of about 200 brought together by PSL rallied under the arch in New York City’s historic Washington Square Park. This was just blocks from where the first abortion speak-out was held in 1969, igniting the movement which won abortion rights. Protesters then took the streets, chanting for two miles down the middle of Broadway to cheers and raise fists from passersbys. The contingent brought new energy and applause as it marched into a “Bans Off Our Bodies” rally of many hundreds overflowing Foley Square in front of the Federal Building.
The PSL Denver Defend Roe v. Wade rally and march at the Colorado Capitol building began at 6:30 p.m. There had been two other events earlier in the day in support of abortion access at the same location, with more at each event, growing to its largest point during the PSL event in the evening. Speakers included a representative of Denver DSA, Jeanette Vizguerra from Abolish ICE and Denver PSL organizer Eliza Lucero. Lucero said, “In situations like today, I think of Flo Kennedy, a radical Black organizer who led the fight for reproductive rights in arguably far bleaker times. She always said, ‘Don’t agonize. Organize.’ All is not lost unless we give up. And we are far from doing that! We are joined here today by people all over the country who are taking to the streets in their cities and their towns, and we are not going to be silent!”
Over a thousand people showed up, marched down 16th Street — a major pedestrian walkway downtown — and remained loud and energetic. People that the march passed by were excited about the protest and excitedly took flyers for another abortion access event that will be held on Saturday at noon at the Capitol in Denver.
Demonstrations were held all over Texas, the site of the restrictive anti-abortion law SB 8. In the state capitol of Austin, multiple protests were called for 5 p.m., at local parks, at courthouses and at the Texas State Capitol. Most of the protesters converged within an hour, leading to a march of a thousand people, which shut down usually busy downtown streets. Protesters chanted, “My body, my choice!” “Pro-life is a lie, you don’t care if women die,” as well as, “F*** Greg Abbott!” referring to the governor’s vicious personal and political attacks on women and transgender people. This was one of the largest spontaneous protests in years.
In Dallas, around 4 p.m., about 150 people gathered at the Grassy Knoll with support from passing cars and tourists. PSL organizers led the march from there to Belo Garden Park, where another action drew in about 400. Many of the protesters continued protesting at Belo Garden and some stayed at the Grassy Knoll until 9 p.m.
In San Antonio there was an emergency protest and speak out at the Federal Court House. The protest was called by Mujeres Marcharán, a coalition of women’s rights organizations that have organized International Women’s Day marches for 31 years. Coalition members Jules Vaquera of Veterans for Peace and Rachell Tucker from the Party for Socialism and Liberation emceed the protest of at least 200 people. Dozens spoke in outrage, denouncing the decision reached by the courts. They described their own experiences, the murder charge of Lizelle Herrera in Brownsville as a sign of the future, fear for the rights of future generations, and the illegitimacy of the Supreme Court to rule on women’s self-determination. Ages of the speakers ranged from roughly five years old to veterans of the women’s rights movement.
Upwards of 500 people gathered in front of Houston City Hall in a protest called by Socialist Alternative. PSL members were joined by DSA and Planned Parenthood volunteers. Protesters ended by marching through downtown to a chorus of appreciative honks and raised fists from passersby and drivers.
Hundreds took to the streets in downtown Albuquerque on May 3 at the Federal Courthouse. Speakers addressed the attack on Roe v. Wade, demanding that access to safe, affordable abortion be a guaranteed right. Organizer Bex Hampton said, “The Supreme Court should be abolished! Nine unelected judges, appointed for lifetime terms, should not be able to eviscerate the rights of hundreds of millions of people in the United States. This institution makes a mockery out of the notion of a democratic society.” The movement for abortion rights will continue to grow, with follow-up events being planned for the coming days and hundreds coming out to join the movement.
On May 3, PSL organized a protest in Boise, Idaho. The protest was well attended with hundreds of people energized in defense of Roe v. Wade. Multiple events in the area came together at the PSL event in front of Boise City Hall. Protesters marched through the downtown area, ending on the State Capitol steps. Members of the community spoke into a megaphone, protesting the Supreme Court’s decision. Back in March, Idaho Governor Brad Little signed the anti-abortion bills SB 1309 and SB 1358. SB 1309 is modeled after the Texas’s SB 8; SB 1358 allows family members of a person who got an abortion to sue medical providers who perform abortions.
More than 700 people rallied on the Rhode Island State House steps late Tuesday evening. State politicians, doctors, and activists emphasized that attacks on abortion rights unevenly target poor women of color, and the disproportionate state spending on incarceration and war over health care. Organizers from the Womxn Project projected graphics on the State House and on a hot air balloon. While many called on the crowd to vote, Andira Ture from the Party for Socialism and Liberation explained that the path to abortion justice is through militant struggle for socialism. “While we in the PSL fight for much needed reforms, in order to really win, we need to win big. By win big, I mean we need to transform the system that is rotten to the core.”
On May 3 at 6 p.m., upwards of 2,500 people gathered at the Massachusetts State House in Boston for a demonstration and march around the Boston Commons for defending abortion rights. The demonstration was organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation and the Boston Liberation Center. The speak out also included speakers from Planned Parenthood, Trans Day of Remembrance, Boston South Asian Coalition, Breaking the Chains magazine and Socialist Alternative.
Mandy Wilkens, a speaker from Trans Day of Remembrance, energized the crowd by saying, “It took a mass movement to get gay marriage, it took a mass movement to get Derek Chauvin convicted, and its going to take a mass movement to get trans rights, and it’s going to take a mass movement to get abortion rights codified into law!” and was met with roaring applause from the crowd.
In Dayton, Ohio, after a stormy afternoon, the rain stopped just long enough for protesters to flood the Dayton Municipal Court steps on the evening of May 3. Chants of “We won’t go back, we will fight back!” grew louder as more speakers took their turn on the megaphone. PSL Miami Valley member Derek explained the PSL’s concrete stance on abortion rights and the need for mass revolutionary action outside of Democratic Party politics. The crowd of around 70 people — a big turn out for a short notice protest in the city — cheered in support.
On May 3 in Davis, California, people took to the streets to defend abortion rights. The crowd held banners and signs at a downtown intersection busy with rush hour traffic. Demonstrators included many students from nearby University of California, Davis and families. Chants of, “We won’t give up without a fight, abortion is a human right,” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho sexism has got to go,” could be heard multiple blocks from the protest. Passing cars honked in support throughout the action. Protesters pledged to keep up the fight until abortion is legalized once and for all. The action ended with resounding chants of, “We’ll be back, we’ll be back!”
PSL Minneapolis attended and spoke at a group event on May 3 along with Socialist Alternative and Democratic Socialists of America. The event took place at the Minnesota Capitol Building in Saint Paul, and ran from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Several hundred people turned out, and an explicitly revolutionary sentiment was expressed by organizers. The need for revolutionary feminism — not “Girlboss Feminism, not Capitalist Feminism, but actual liberation” — was stressed as a theme by all speakers from all organizations, as was the inability of the Democratic Party to fight for the people.
People outraged by the leaked draft option, gathered on May 3, at 5 p.m. in Capitol West Park in front of the New York State Capitol, in Albany, New York. The rally was organized by Planned Parenthood of Upper Hudson.
In Portland, Oregon, as many as 400 people met at 6:30 p.m. outside the Portland State University Student Health Center. The crowd quickly outgrew the street corner and marched two blocks north to Urban Plaza. Protesters chanted and spoke about the undemocratic nature of the Supreme Court, the false narrative of being “pro-life,” and the complete inaction of Democrats — the ostensibly “pro-choice” party — to make abortion safe, legal, and free for all by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act. Speakers also addressed petty attempts at dividing the working class by pitting transgender people and women against each other in the struggle for reproductive rights and healthcare more generally, and called for a multi-gender, multi-national movement to build a society where all poor and working people are cared for. The crowd cheered loudly when one speaker said, “You cannot be pro-life when you force people to be born and then force them to struggle to survive,” and explained how attacks on abortion rights go hand in hand with attacks on all welfare and public services. Speakers from Gabriela Portland and the International Women’s Alliance further spoke to how attacks on WIC and SNAP benefits target poor and working mothers.
On May 3 in Cincinnati, Ohio, PSL united with Democratic Socialists of America and Cincinnati Socialists in a demonstration in front of the Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse to defend abortion rights in light of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion to overturn Roe v Wade. Speakers from all organizations took turns expressing shared grievances over SCOTUS’ decision while passers by on the street clapped and expressed their solidarity and cars honked in support. A crowd of over 100 people braved severe weather to demand legal abortion for all.
PSL Carolinas led a rally defending abortion rights and reproductive justice in Raleigh, North Carolina on May 3 at 6 p.m. PSL and coalition partners, including Triangle Abortion Access Coalition and Planned Parenthood, met in downtown Raleigh at the corner of Hargett and Wilmington Streets. With over 600 people showing up for women, queer and transgender people, protesters marched from the corner passing by the Wake County Justice Center and finished at Moore Square Park. They gathered to hear the dangers of overturning Roe v. Wade, the severe limitation to abortion access already in place and how to support by volunteering as clinic escorts or donating to local abortion funds, like Carolina Abortion Fund. “We know that this is a long fight and that we are in this for the long haul, and that we’re not only going to be here today, but be here every single day to demand legalized abortion,” said PSL organizer Dana Alhasan.
On May 3 at 6 p.m. PSL Tampa Bay organized a protest of 200 to 300 people in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. The protest started at a Planned Parenthood on Central Ave. and marched on the street until the march was forced back onto the sidewalk by St. Pete police. Members of the PSL spoke, as well as local members of Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Students for a Democratic Society.
About 200 people rallied in front of the City Council building in Pittsburgh in a protest organized by Socialist Alternative and the Party for Socialism and Liberation. After a number of highly-energized speeches, including one by a PSL member, people took to the streets of downtown Pittsburgh for an hour long march despite the heavy rain.
PSL Indianapolis organized an emergency rally in defense of abortion rights on May 4 at 5 p.m., at Monument Circle. Some 400 people came out to hear speakers from PSL, Indy10 Black Lives Matter, and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Northern Kentucky. Counter-protesters attempted to take the circle halfway through the rally, but the crowd successfully held them back as the speakers continued. Chants of “We won’t go back” and “Pro-life, that’s a lie! You don’t care if people die” drowned out the counter protesters’ chants.
On May 4 in Geneva, New York, 35 people gathered at the intersection of two major streets to demonstrate their opposition to the Supreme Court’s egregious intent to revoke abortion rights. Attendees enthusiastically chanted, “Not the church, not the state. Women must decide our fate!” and “Pro-life, your name’s a lie. You don’t care if women die!” Speakers expressed outrage that a small group composed primarily of privileged men are making decisions about women’s bodies and called for people to take to the streets to fight for reproductive justice.
On May 4, PSL Milwaukee lead an emergency march in defense of abortion rights. Hundreds of working people took the streets with chants of “The Patriarchy Has Got to Go!” and “We Won’t Go Back, We Will Fight Back!” echoing across downtown Milwaukee. Speeches drew the connection between capitalism and the recent attacks on abortion and LGBTQ rights, emphasizing that socialism is the ultimate solution to patriarchal violence.
About 400 people gathered in front of the South Carolina State House in Columbia on May 4 at 6 p.m. at a protest called by the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Protesters spoke, chanted, carried signs, and eventually took to the streets, marching a couple of blocks down Main St. before returning to the capitol building. Demonstrators chanted, “When abortion rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” and “¡Se ve! ¡Se escucha! ¡Mujeres en la lucha!”
One speaker emphasized that “if the right to abortion is overturned, it would be a grave injury first and foremost to women, but at the same time an injury to all people oppressed by capitalism — trans people and all LGBTQ people, all oppressed communities, poor people, and the entire working class.” Co-sponsoring organizations included Planned Parenthood and Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network.
On the evening of May 4, about 1000 protesters gathered outside the San Diego Hall of Justice for a march organized by Socialist Alternative and the Party for Socialism and Liberation. The event was kicked off by speakers from various organizations, including the PSL, Democratic Socialists of America, Socialist Alternative and the Sunrise Movement. Following these speeches, protesters took to the streets chanting various feminist slogans, such as “Our bodies, our choice!” and “C’mon, c’mon, let’s join the fight, abortion is a basic right!”
Organizers on the Olympic Peninsula, aided by the PSL and several other groups, called an emergency action in response to the recently leaked draft opinion by Justice Alito. The event was held on the evening of May 4 on the corner of East 1st Street and Golf Course Road in Port Angeles. A crowd of over 70 people with signs were in attendance. The event helped to draw attention to the attack on Roe v. Wade and created a platform for locals to get involved in the movement to protect abortion rights. One of the lead organizers of the rally also used the moment to encourage eligible pro-choice citizens to apply for the county’s vacant hospital district position.
A rally was held May 5 at 1 p.m. in front of the Mellin Steps at the Doudna Fine Arts Center, on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. The rally lasted approximately 90 minutes until around 2:30 p.m. that same day.
The rally was organized by members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation in Charleston, in collaboration with some other student organizers in the community, including members of Eastern’s Young Democratic Socialists of America. Notable moments include speeches and chants sponsored by two of Eastern’s professors, one of whom serves as the faculty advisor for Eastern’s YDSA.