UMN students demand protection of women’s and reproductive rights
Minneapolis protest defends reproductive rights. (Fight! News/Staff)
Minneapolis, MN – More than 70 protesters gathered outside the University of Minnesota’s Donhowe Building for a protest in support of women’s rights and reproductive rights on Friday, May 20. The action was initiated by the Twin Cities chapter of the UMN Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and raised demands for action from the university administration on women’s rights and reproductive rights.
The program kicked off with chants of “When abortion rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” filling the air on University Avenue. After hearing speakers, protesters began marching through the Dinkytown area, catching the attention of passers-by, many raising their fists in support or pulling out their phones to check in. Some even joined the march as they went along.
Robyn Harbison and Haizela Wu spoke on behalf of SDS, detailing both the state of current attacks on abortion rights and the specific demands they have raised for the university to take action. They demanded that President Gabel issue a statement affirming his support for women’s and reproductive rights, including: a module on reproductive health in the first year of orientation; the creation of a center for the promotion and education of reproductive health; and boycotting states with “heartbeat” bills.
Mira Altobell-Resendez of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization explained the deep connection between capitalism and these attacks on women and reproductive rights. They made it clear that these attacks are “the way capitalism keeps itself alive by exploiting women, gay and gender non-conforming people, people of oppressed nationality and the working class. For the ruling class, the security of these people is expendable as long as their bodies fuel their economy.
Other speakers included members of the Climate Justice Committee; Meredith Aby-Keirstead of the MN Anti-war Committee and Sam Martinez of the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar.
At the end of the action, Students for a Democratic Society invited all students interested in getting involved in this campaign for women’s rights and reproductive justice on campus to join them at their meetings every Thursday at 6 p.m. on the Knoll.