The following 3 speech’s were given on the steps of the Capitol building in Madison on May 7th at the Stand Up For Abortion rally. Around a thousand people gathered to protest the leaked Supreme Court draft statement to overturn abortion access on a federal level.
Speech by Julia T
We are on the verge of losing the fundamental right to legal abortion, the right to control our own bodies and lives, in the United States. The Supreme Court’s assault on our rights is part of a global reaction to the force of feminist and queer struggles for freedom, dignity, and equality. In these times, we must find strength in solidarity with our feminist comrades around the world. We must demolish the borders constructed by our government and build powerful relationships based on care and trust in their place.
A green tide is sweeping across Latin America, and the world. Millions of women and queer and trans folks rose up to end lethal gendered violence, including the state sanctioned violence of forced pregnancy and childbirth, beginning in Argentina in 2015. They wore green bandanas, a symbol of feminist resistance to the brutal US sponsored military dictatorship, as they organized their neighbors, coworkers, and student organizations into a massive movement for free, safe, and legal abortion. They followed in the footsteps of anti-fascist dissidents who resisted state oppression on the streets and in their homes. After years of demonstrations, strikes, and repression, on December 30 2020 in Argentina lawmakers passed a bill legalizing state funded abortions until the 14th week of pregnancy.
The green wave washed over Mexico, where courts ruled in favor of abortion rights over the past year. Feminist organizers forced the courts to act by refusing to leave the streets, illegally distributing abortion pills, and winning legislative victories. The tide of feminist resistance is rising in Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, and now in the United States.
Feminists around the world are harnessing the power of the transnational women’s strike. As strikers chanted in Argentina, “If we stop, we stop the world.” We know that every parent is a working parent, that our unpaid and paid labor inside and outside of the home is what keeps the economy running. Thousands of Polish feminists ignited the global movement, and soon e a nationwide strike forced the Irish state to legalize abortion. The strike wave swept across 50 countries on March 8 2017 and 2018 and reinvigorated struggles against neoliberal, racist, and patriarchal violence on the streets and in neighborhoods and workplaces.
The strike is about our fundamental right to bodily autonomy, but it’s about more than that. Feminists are on strike for a life worth living. In Chile the feminist revolt of March 8th was a catalyst for the social revolution of 2019, and the creation of a new constitution in the place of the remnants of the Pinochet regime. In Madison and beyond we struggle in solidarity with anti racist movements to abolish police and prisons and build life affirming institutions in their place. The strike against moves against and beyond the forces of our oppression.
Transnational feminism reveals the oppressive web of racial, economic, and patriarchal exploitation that governs our lives and weaves together our daily acts of resistance, in our relationships, our homes, our universities, our neighborhoods, and our workplaces into a common struggle for freedom and dignity. We must join our comrades around the world and change what is possible through our struggle.
Speech by Sakari
My name is Sakari. I am a high school student and I am also a rape and incest victim. I was lucky enough to not get pregnant from either of these situations, but many people are not that lucky.
Around 5% of people who are raped get pregnant. That is more than 32 thousand preganacies a year due to rape.
If Roe v Wade is overturned this means more than 32 thousand people may have to carry the fetus from their rapist until it is born or will abort the baby unsafely and likely get injured. And that is complete fucking bullshit.
Right now the reproductive rights of more than 50% of the population in the United States is about to get ruled away.
Roe v Wade being overturned is also just another way to keep the people who are in lower classes at that level.
Wealthy people are able to just hop on a plane or drive to a state where abortions are legal while people who are already struggling because they work multiple jobs, already have kids to take care of, do not have the means of transportation, or are trapped in a relationship making them unable to travel will be stuck.
Abortion has been protected since roe v wade was passed in 1973.
Don’t get me wrong, I love throwback fashion and that its coming back as a huge trend, but we can not make a trend out of retrogressing to the time when we did not have rights over our own bodies.
Overturning roe v wade is basically saying your body,
but you don’t have a choice to every person with a uterus.
We can not let this happen. We need to continue to come together to fight this and show them we will not stop until they stop trying to make decisions about our bodies.
Speech by Hayley A
Thank you for being here today. I know that you are devastated and terrified. I am, too. But the fight is NOT over.
The stakes are high. We are facing one of the greatest civil rights defeats in our lifetime. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, then abortion rights would be entirely up to the states. If this is allowed, we will all suffer. But some people will feel the effects of restriction and criminalization more sharply and swiftly than others. From disproportionate arrest, to lack of access to medical care, inability to travel out of state or miss work, or fund abortion. It will be Black, brown, transgender, and poor people who will bear the most significant harm.
In addition, the legal reasoning in the Supreme Court’s draft opinion is itself a threat. One of the arguments is that the rights in Roe are not “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.” The court could use the same reasoning to target LGBTQ rights, contraceptive rights, and much more. In other works, Our bodies, our families, and our lives are on the chopping block.
But the draft opinion is not the final decision. And we are not alone. This week, all across the country, people have poured their outrage into the streets. I understand if part of your heart feels like this is a futile cry into the void. But I want you to hear me with an open mind. We can win this fight, but it will take a lot of work and time, and we have to do it ourselves.
As you well know, the Supreme Court has the ability to overturn abortion protections. Nine unelected judges with lifetime appointments will decide the fate of millions. Allegedly, they are shielded from public opinion. In other words, they don’t have to listen to us – in fact, they’re not really supposed to. But as a lawyer and an activist, I don’t buy it. History shows that the Court does, in fact, respond to the court of public opinion. Justice Sandra Day O’Conner wrote that “real change, when it comes, stems principally from attitudinal shifts in the population at large. Rare is the legal victory that is not a careful by-product of emerging social consciousness.” It is not a coincidence that major constitutional decisions emerge during times of sustained movements – desegregating public schools, legalizing gay marriage, and the initial win of abortion rights, all of these resulted from sustained legal battles alongside grassroots struggles.
The majority of this country supports the right to have an abortion. Public outcry and sustained protest can shift this tide and save abortion.
The threat we face today is a big deal but it has been a big deal for a long time. But, the impending Fall of Roe is, at this point, more theoretical than actual for millions of people. For decades, targeted restrictions have shut down hundreds of clinics. Abortion is and has been inaccessible and unaffordable for millions of people. For those people, Roe has already fallen. It’s been a death by a thousand cuts. But still, this feels different.
The leak has changed the atmosphere, the day we’ve been fearing – the day that’s been creeping up on us for decades – has arrived. We cannot wait and rely on politicians or the court to do the right thing. We must take our liberation into our own hands.
What does that mean? Where do we start?
I believe we need a multi-pronged strategy: legislative campaigns, mutual aid, and protest.
- Campaigns. We need unapologetically pro-abortion campaigns in every state. I do NOT mean throwing all of our time and efforts and money and genius into lobbying, begging, or waiting for experts to do the right thing. We’ve done that and it hasn’t worked. We need state-by-state grassroots campaigns. Target the trigger laws, target restrictions, and amend state constitutions. Join our campaign here to Strike the Ban on abortion in Wisconsin.
- Mutual aid. We need to help each other now—organizing rides for people to clinics, providing child care (low-cost or crowd-funded) to patients during their appointments, and raising money to pay for abortions. We must learn to rely on each other, hold each other accountable, and always have each other’s backs.
- Protest. A lot of people are focusing entirely on Trump and the GOP’s state-level attacks on abortion. Don’t mistake me: Trump and the GOP and their contempt for us is monstrous. But the GOP’s agenda works hand in hand with a highly organized grassroots movement that targets clinics is very vocal, and is unapologetic in its anti-abortion message. By contrast, our side has been told to ignore the anti-choice protest, ignore the threats outside clinics, to focus on campaigning for democrats, donating, or voting. And we have. We have taken the lead from the experts. But it hasn’t stopped the attacks. The attacks did not start with Trump. For decades, the Democrats have not made good on campaign promises. I’m tired of the lip service. And I’m tired of apologizing about abortion. We must shore up our resources and organize collectively on our own behalf. When it comes to our lives, we ARE the experts. It’s time we take matters into our own hands and let the Democrats follow our lead. Protest can look like a rally, look like a march, but protest is also music, art, sitting in, social media actions, education, skill-sharing, and community building. Find your protest and do it with other people.
I am so sad and so angry and I know you are too. Like many of you, I saw this coming but I’m still shocked. I feel so much fear for us. But only in fear can we find courage. a fierce public response can lead the court to change course. What happens next is up to us. I promise you that I will never give up. I will never stop pushing until we win full reproductive justice for all. Promise me the same. Promise each other the same.
THIS FIGHT IS NOT OVER.