Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

Appleton WI: “Nothing to celebrate” July 4 rally demands non-enforcement of state’s anti-abortion law

By Jay Gibbs

Appleton, WI – On July 4, hundreds of community members gathered in downtown Appleton to make their voices heard in support of reproductive rights for all.

What started earlier in the week as two separate events converged into one mass gathering of people who are stirred to action in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in Jackson v. Dobbs on June 24, which erased the 50 years of affirmed federal protection for access to safe, legal abortion.

Concerned community individuals were supported by members of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), Food Not Bombs-Fox Valley (FNBFV), United Action Oshkosh (UAO) and Hope Fridge as they worked to organize hundreds of people starting at Houdini Plaza downtown. From there the masses mobilized, moving to nearby Jones Park, where a sound system had been assembled. The local community members spoke to the energized crowd, sharing personal stories of how this court ruling can and did affect them.

Even as the skies darkened and a downpour drenched people, the crowd remained steadfast and enthusiastic as the speeches continued. Speakers from the Hope Fridge, FRSO and UAO made their voices heard as they gave messages of solidarity and the need to unite all working people. The crowd responded to the speakers with growing enthusiasm, shouting affirmation at the message of unity. The speakers led the crowd in chanting, and laid out their common goals, with demands made to those in power in the area.

“Nobody should be prosecuted for essential medical care. Wisconsin’s abortion ban is outdated and archaic and leaves the people of our communities without protection. We expect government officials to act in the best interest of all the people,” said FRSO member Ashley Schneider, who spoke at the event.

The people of Appleton and surrounding areas have made demands of local county boards to adopt non-enforcement resolutions in the face of Wisconsin Statute 940.04, the 1849 anti-abortion law that triggered into effect with the Dobbs decision.

In addition to that, the speakers also called for the Appleton Police Department to be held accountable for their apathetic response to the hit-and-run vehicular assault that occurred at a rally earlier last week. A man drove through a red traffic light and struck a community member who was legally in the crosswalk at an event on June 27. After identifying the man who committed the act, it was discovered there was only a citation given for running the traffic signal. Further investigation shows a familial connection for the suspect to both the city of Appleton as well as the APD itself. The people demanded a response from both the APD and Mayor Jake Woodford, who had been presented with video evidence of the attack at a meeting of FRSO and community members on June 29.

The afternoon continued after the speeches with the throngs of people marching back to downtown Appleton from Jones Park, where the gathered people made their collective voices heard to the downtown scene and July 4 traffic.

#AppletonWI #RoeVWade #reproductiveRights #AbortionRights #Dobbs