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Milwaukee pro Palestine activists protest VP Harris’ “Reproductive Freedom Tour”

By staff

Catie Petralia of RJAM speaks to the crowd during a protest outside VP Kamala Harris' reproductive freedom event in Big Bend, Wisconsin. | Fight Back! News/staff

Milwaukee, WI – Vice President Kamala Harris visited Big Bend, Wisconsin on January 22, on the 51st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, for a stop on her “Reproductive Freedom Tour.” Pro-Palestine and pro-choice activists held an action to fight back against the hypocrisy.

The Biden-Harris administration has refused all calls for cutting aid to Israel to stop the genocide in Palestine and continues to bomb Yemen, and Wisconsin does not have full and free access to abortion.

More than 30 people gathered on a street as close to the venue as possible at one of the main checkpoints to protest, chant and resist the VP’s event. They had signs and Palestine flags posted up in the snow alongside the road for attendees to witness. The activists stood in the cold and kept up strong energy as the Secret Service and other local police blocked them from the road. About 15 cops lined up to form a defense line between the protesters and where the Harris brigade drove by. The VP could not ignore the protesters, and activists will continue to remind them of the Palestinian genocide they support.

Milwaukee activist groups Reproductive Justice Action-Milwaukee (RJA-M) and the Milwaukee Anti-war Committee (MAC) with endorsement from the Wisconsin Coalition for Justice in Palestine (@wisco4pali on Instagram), protested this campaign event to shed light on the hypocrisy of the Biden administration for hosting a tour like this while the U.S. continues to endorse and fund the genocide of the Palestinian people, denying them any kind of reproductive justice. Activists also claim that this display is hypocritical due to the volatile nature of abortion access within the state of Wisconsin and the administration's failure to codify Roe v. Wade into law.

“It is unacceptable for Kamala Harris to parade around America claiming to stand for reproductive freedom, while supplying money and weapons that will be used by Israel to take away the reproductive freedoms of women in Gaza,” said Sabine Wolter of MAC.

Since October 7, 2023, over 70% of deaths in Gaza have been women and children. Survivors have continued to struggle to find basic reproductive care, including anesthesia to ease cesarean section pain or basic menstrual supplies. They face increased miscarriages and severe infections due to a lack of functioning and safe hospitals and clinics, and the blockade of food, water and other health supplies.

Reproductive justice is the right to have or to not have children, and to raise those children in a safe and healthy environment. Families in Gaza do not have reproductive justice while living under the colonial occupation and apartheid of Israel.

In Wisconsin and the United States, Roe v. Wade is still overturned, allowing individual states to criminalize and ban abortion, which many have done. Wisconsin especially is known as a “battleground state,” where gerrymandered, Republican legislators try to restrict access to abortion against the will of the people. On the same day as the Harris event, the legislature hosted a public hearing for Assembly Bill 975, which would ban abortion after 14 weeks.

Luckily, RJAM is a strong organization and was able to send two representatives to Madison to testify against the bill, while also co-hosting the Kamala protest in Big Bend. The fight for reproductive justice for all is a multi-level, multi-faceted fight and the people of Milwaukee are ready.

“We’re here because Kamala Harris and the Democrats did not do enough to protect our right to abortion while they had the power. Now we see pregnant people across the country being sent home with non-viable pregnancies, people being charged and criminalized for their miscarriages after seeking help,” said Catie Petralia with RJAM.

They continued, “Brittany Watts, a Black woman from Ohio was recently charged for having a miscarriage. Without laws to protect abortion, or proper care from providers, more people will experience violence from our health and legal systems. We demand Kamala and Biden to protect abortion rights for all, call for a ceasefire, end the occupation and free Palestine! Reproductive justice for all!”

Toward the end of the Harris protest, anti-choice or “pro-life” protesters arrived at the location and lined up against the pro-Palestine activists. They had horribly graphic posters and signs and began to heckle the larger group. When there was a slight confrontation, the Wisconsin cops protected the anti-choicers and stood in front of them to protect them.

During the VP’s event, a member of the Wisconsin Coalition for Justice in Palestine interrupted her speech at the end. She was booed, escorted out quickly, and the other attendees actually began chanting ‘MVP’ in support of Kamala. Some liberal Democrats want reproductive freedom for themselves, but not for the women and other people of Palestine.

RJAM and MAC demand the Biden administration recognize that war and genocide are in direct conflict with the goal of reproductive justice. They demand reproductive freedom for all, including the innocent people of Palestine and to end U.S. aid to Israel.

#MilwaukeeWI #WomensMovement #ReproductiveRights #Palestine #AntiWarMovement