On September 12, about 200 abortion rights activists gathered at Union Square in New York City. This was one of many protests happening this month around the country against the Supreme Court’s decision not to block Texas’s recently passed (and medically inaccurate) “Texas Heartbeat Act,” which is a de-facto ban on abortion. The protest was organized by Left Voice in partnership with a number of other left-wing groups, including NYC for Abortion Rights, DSA Afrosocialists and Socialists of Color Caucus, and the Tempest Collective.
The Texas law not only bans nearly all abortions after six weeks—before most people even know they are pregnant; it also allows private individuals to sue anyone who assists someone in accessing an abortion, effectively empowering anti-abortion vigilantes. As pro-choice activists brace for further challenges to Roe v. Wade, the now 6-3 conservative Supreme Court’s decision compounds more than 90 abortion restrictions and bans that have passed state legislatures this year alone. While these laws are primarily being driven by members of the Republican Party, the Democratic Party has been mostly absent in pushing back against this assault on reproductive rights and gender justice.
This puts the U.S. far behind several recent international advancements for abortion rights. 2021 began with such promise as Argentina, the birth country of Pope Francis, legalized abortion for the first 14 weeks of gestation, following the 2018 referendum in Ireland (a majority Catholic country), where two thirds of voters overturned a ban on abortion. On September 7, Mexico’s Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling declaring that abortion is no longer a crime in the country. Before this, abortion had been legal in Mexico City since 2007, but criminalized throughout most of the country. These victories were not merely won in the courts, but through mass street protests and mobilizations to demand abortion rights. It will take no less to defend them in the U.S., too.
Pro-choice organizations, including the Women’s March, Planned Parenthood, and over 90 other groups have called for national mobilizations to defend Reproductive Rights on October 2 in conjunction with the start of the Supreme Court’s new term that begins on October 4.
We have put together a compilation of five speeches from the September 12 protest in defense of abortion rights at Union Square in New York City.
Featured Image Credit: Gigi Schweitzerr. Modified by Tempest.
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