by Ronnie Estoque
On June 24, protesters filled the streets of downtown Seattle in response to the United States Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, which had protected abortions at the federal level. Before marching, protesters gathered outside the federal building for a rally organized by the Puget Sound Mobilization for Reproductive Justice (PSMRJ) – a growing coalition of groups and individuals initiated by Radical Women nationwide to strengthen the defending abortion rights. The event was also coordinated alongside other protests happening in other cities across the United States.
One of the speakers at the rally was Christina Lopez, a Chicana labor activist and member of PSMRJ and Radical Women.
“We can be pessimistic about what happened in the High Court. But look, that’s where the optimism is; that’s where the hope is,” Lopez said pointing to the crowd.
Radical Women had braced for protests against the Supreme Court ruling several weeks before the court was officially overturned Roe vs. Wade last Friday. According to Lopez, June 24 is a catalyst for more protests to follow until their demands are met.
The PSMRJ lists a number of demands on its website, including the right to a safe and legal abortion on demand without an apology, the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, the overthrow of state barriers to reproductive choices, an end medical and environmental racism, and much more.
“I’m here to build, because that’s the only thing that’s going to turn the tide against right-wing attacks,” Lopez said. “It’s exciting to have so much support from the labor movement. And at the same time, we must support the labor movement and its right to organize, as if it were organizing [at] Starbucks [and] Amazon.”
Sarah Scott, a member of Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party, hopes to continue advocating and supporting those seeking abortions.
“We will not tolerate this violation of women’s bodies, and we will fight until this Roe vs. Wade recovered,” Scott said. “The way we’re also going to move forward is to make sure that the abortion clinics that are still open, like in eastern Washington, that we send them supplies and donations and whatever they might need to stay open.”
Stephanie Gallardo, a teacher, labor leader and socialist congressional candidate for District 9, also spoke at the rally. She began her speech by talking about the recent mass mobilizations in Chile which culminated in the ongoing work to revise their Constitution to include indigenous communities in the country and the “rights to redress of the human rights of women, people of descent, and LGBTI people.
“It is time for us to take back our power. We must stop being afraid to resist our own demise; we need to stop mincing words about the two-party duopoly when the two-party duopoly and the foundation of white supremacy is exactly what got us to this position today,” Gallardo said.
“We have to stop thinking that we are alone here in the United States. We are not alone. We are part of a global working class, our global working class that has already been through this exercise. »
Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant of District 3 also spoke at the rally. His office had announced legislation to make Seattle an abortion-rights sanctuary.
“My office will also make a grassroots budget amendment in the September budget to make abortion free in Seattle for anyone fleeing states that have criminalized reproductive health care,” Sawant said. “So it’s going to be far better for us to muster all that energy to fight to tax the rich to fund basic services because we as working class people just can’t afford to do that. .”
During her speech, Sawant highlighted the importance of protesters fighting for social feminism and the importance of understanding how abortion rights were achieved through the combined pressure of civil, labor and human rights movements. women.
“Socialist feminism means building on the mass struggle of the working class, not on illusions about the fairness or neutrality of capitalism and the bosses,” Sawant said.
After the rally, those in attendance began their march through downtown Seattle with the help of bicycle blockades that separated the streets.
Other local demonstrations on the first weekend following the overthrow of Roe vs. Wade were also led by the Women’s March, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights and Shout Your Abortion. Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, King Dow County Executive Constantine, Governor Jay Inslee, and many members of the Seattle City Council have all announced their commitment to defending reproductive rights within the state and ensuring that others from out of state will be protected with their right to choose. .
Ronnie Estoque is a freelance photographer and videographer based in South Seattle. You can follow his work by visiting his website.
📸 Feature Image: Protesters gathered outside the federal building for a rally organized by the Puget Sound Mobilization for Reproductive Justice, in response to the overthrow of Roe v. Wade. (Photo: Ronnie Estoque)
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