Arlington, TX students speak out for reproductive rights on campus
Arlington, TX – On September 7, the Progressive Student Union held a rally here to speak out against the reversal of Roe v. Wade, as part of a wider national day of action called by Students for a Democratic Society.
Texas is one of the few states that has nearly banned abortion outright via its “trigger law” from 2019, but there are exceptions for the mother’s life being in danger. Given this reality PSU organized the rally to call upon new University of Texas at Arlington President Jennifer Evans-Cowley to protect abortion on the UTA campus. This sentiment was echoed by many students over the course of planning and building up for the rally, and PSU invited community organizations to speak on abortion rights, such as the Afiya Center. Over 70 students came to protest the reversal of Roe v. Wade, and demanded that UTA provide legal abortions on campus, be more transparent about pill access on campus, and make a public statement concerning the enshrining the protection of abortion rights on campus.
As students rallied, there was an attempted disruption by the local “pro-life” organization on campus as well as the local Turning Point USA – fresh from their controversy involving bigots being in student government. They attempted to harass and prevent PSU members from speaking on why abortion rights are healthcare rights – but the crowd shut them down by demanding “Let them speak!” Once again, the student body at UTA showed that bigotry or right-wing reactionaries have no place on campus.
Maria Pettites spoke on behalf of the Afiya Center and the work they do to continue to both help provide for abortions in Texas, as well as continue to defend the right to abortion in Dallas. Another PSU speaker spoke specifically on how their own sibling had to get an abortion in order to continue their college career, and that these latest restrictions on abortion rights will have a compounding effect on students as well as women in general.
Students especially identified with the message that the Supreme Court – an institution that very rarely suffers from the reversal of rights it imposes – has rolled us back to an era we will not go back to, and that the only way forward, truly, is to build a movement to fight for our rights.