Graham Kilmer

Abortion Rights Protest Calls for Supporters to Organize

Activists call on abortion rights supporters to organize political opposition to abortion bans, abortion opponents.

By - Jun 24th, 2022 09:51 pm

Abortion rights protest gathers to march at E. State St. and N. Water St. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

At a protest in support of abortion rights at Red Arrow Park Friday, advocates and activists had a clear message for the crowd that gathered: organize.

The protest, organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) in Milwaukee, was called in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, released Friday morning, repealing constitutional protection for abortion and undoing nearly 50 years of legal precedent established by the 1973 case Roe v. Wade.

Speakers who took the floor during a rally at the park, before a march that looped through downtown, implored the crowd to begin organizing a political opposition to the repeal of abortion rights with the same commitment that anti-abortion advocates have shown since the Roe decision.

Hayden Harwood, a member of PSL, emceed the rally in Red Arrow Park, told the crowd, “We’re here to make noise, take to the street and force the hand of the ruling class. But we’re also here to make connections… We’re here to build our community, because we need to do this together. When the people come together we can do anything.”

Alyson Chavez, director of community relations for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, said, “Educate yourself, your friends, your co-workers about what is happening. Believe it or not, today may be the first time that some people are hearing about this. Don’t be mad at them, the system is designed that way.”

Chavez explained that Planned Parenthood had patients in clinic waiting rooms when the decision was released Friday morning and the clinic had to immediately suspend abortion procedures because of an 1849 law in Wisconsin that bans abortions and makes no exceptions for instances of rape or incest.

“It means that our government in Wisconsin has decided that reverting back to 1972 isn’t enough, they want us to go back to 1849,” she said.

But the organization isn’t giving up, she said. Planned Parenthood staff was already in Illinois, where abortion is still legal, training to begin bringing women seeking access to abortion to that state.

She also said the organization would not shut down any of its clinics, which provide a range of reproductive health services outside of abortion. 

“Planned Parenthood is not closing its doors,” she said. “In fact we’re hiring.”

Harwood closed out the rally saying, “We are the ones who keep the clinics open. We are the ones who schedule procedures. We are the ones who do procedures. Not the tools in the court. Not the legislator. Not the useless president. It’s the workers who can create the society we want to see. It’s the workers who do all of the work. We are the workers. So let’s get to work.”

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Categories: Health, Politics

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