Minneapolis protest against U.S. Supreme Court decisions
Minneapolis, MN – 30 protesters gathered in front of Mayday Books in the West Bank neighborhood on July 8 to oppose the recent U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decisions that end affirmative action, enable LBGTQ discrimination, and block student loan forgiveness.
Activists also commemorated the first anniversary of the June 24, 2022, overturn of Roe v. Wade by the SCOTUS in the Dobbs v. Jackson decision. In the year since, 14 states now have near, or total, abortion bans while six states have gestational restrictions.
“When Roe was overturned, many activists sensed that this was only the beginning. Unfortunately, their intuition was correct,” remarked Sarah Murphy, a member of the Minnesota Abortion Action Committee (MNAAC).
Murphy continued, “Just last week, they ruled that acknowledging unequal access due to race through affirmative action is unconstitutional. Literally the next day, they ruled that discriminating against queer and trans people is totally acceptable as long as you say it's because of Jesus.” Murphy referenced the court case of 303 Creative v. Elenis, in which the SCOTUS ruled in favor of a Colorado-based web designer who stated that her Christian faith requires her to turn away LGBTQ clients.
Carolyn Handke, speaking on behalf of Period Wellness, stated, “Periods and abortions are a normal part of healthcare for people who menstruate. Everyone needs access to safe and healthy menstrual cycles and abortion care. Not just those who can afford it.”
Handke expressed the need to expand abortion access in Minnesota, as it has become an abortion safe haven for people in surrounding states. Abortion is illegal in neighboring states North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, and Iowa voted to implement a six-week abortion ban on July 11.
“The Supreme Court has not stopped its assault on the democratic rights of the people; from allowing businesses to sue unions for losses in strikes, to allowing LGBTQ people to be discriminated against by businesses, to attacks on the rights of Black and native people,” said Siobhan Moore of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.
“At the U of M, the administration wants to cut budgets for already underfunded gender and ethnic studies departments,” remarked Sorcha Lona, a member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at the University of Minnesota. She continued, “These departments that the student movement fought so hard for will be devastated by this decision.”
SCOTUS rulings are hitting students and higher education hard. On June 29, in the case Students for Fair Admission v. Harvard, the SCOTUS ruled that race-based admissions for schools were discriminatory, overturning affirmative action. In another blow to students, the SCOTUS ruled in Biden v. Nebraska against the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness. This plan would have delivered up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness for about 43 million people living in the U.S.
Rachel Storm, also with MNAAC, spoke about political repression by the FBI, saying, “Just recently, one of our comrades from SDS, Gillian [Rath], was contacted by the FBI, and asked about the anti-CPC work we’ve been doing.”
The FBI questioned her about abortion rights activism and her work in opposition to anti-abortion centers, despite not having done anything illegal. Anti-abortion centers, alternatively known as crisis pregnancy centers or CPCs, will no longer receive state funding in the state of Minnesota thanks to the passing of state legislation this spring. However, most CPCs still receive funding from right-wing evangelical organizations with deep pockets. CPCs outnumber legitimate abortion clinics 11 to 1 in the state of Minnesota.
Storm continued, “According to an internal report from the FBI, they’ve opened ten times as many investigations into ‘abortion-related terrorism’ cases than they had in 2021. And this uptick in FBI investigations comes directly from pressure by Republican congresspeople, urging the FBI to investigate charges of 'pro-abortion terrorism.'”
Targeting abortion clinic staff and abortion rights activists, anti-abortion advocates have committed at least eleven murders since 1993. There were 26 attempted murders in the same time period.
Storm concluded, “Does it make any sense for the FBI to target pro-abortion activists when it's abundantly clear who is perpetuating the violence here?”
The Abort the Court protest was organized by the Minnesota Abortion Action Committee, Students for a Democratic Society, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar, and Taking Back Pride.