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Students picket to demand abortion clinics on all U of MN campuses

By Siobhan Moore

Twin Cities SDS rally for abortion access.

Minneapolis, MN – Bright yellow picket signs stood tall by University Avenue at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, as students and campus community gathered to protest outside the Donhowe building at the University of Minnesota to demand immediate action from administration to expand abortion access on campus. The action was organized by the UMN chapter of Students for a Democratic Society and co-hosted by the Minnesota Abortion Action Committee. Students chanted “Hey Gabel, what do you say? Protect abortion rights today!” calling on University President Joan Gabel to act on their demands to defend women’s and reproductive rights on campus and in the broader state of Minnesota.

As chants echoed down the street to choruses of honks in support from passing cars, the emcees introduced the first speakers. Andon Lieu from SDS explained that especially due to Minnesota’s status as a sanctuary state for abortion, “The University of Minnesota has a greater responsibility to uphold and protect reproductive rights, as an institution that prides itself on its so-called dedication to public service and serving communities.” They continued, making clear that “reproductive justice will only be won through collective struggle.”

Emcees read off a list of demands that SDS has raised to defend women’s and reproductive rights on campus, which include: the establishment of a reproductive health advocacy center, which would work to connect students to resources from STI testing to abortion and other services; a reproductive health training module for freshman orientation so that students will know what resources are available and how they can access them; a boycott by the university of business and big-ticket events with states that have extreme abortion restrictions such as heartbeat bills; and the opening of an abortion clinic on every University of Minnesota campus.

Speaking for the AFSCME locals at the University, Skyler Dorr voiced the support of campus workers for these demands. They also denounced the drive of administration to put workers’ and students’ jobs and needs – including healthcare access – on the chopping block whenever the budget is drawn up. “There are hundreds of administrators at the University of Minnesota that are making more than the governor,” Dorr continued, stating that if the university needs to cut funds anywhere, “we need to chop from the top.”

Other speakers included Mira Altobell-Resendez of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Robyn Harbison of the Minnesota Abortion Action Committee. At the end of the protest, organizers called on students and student organizations, including cultural organizations, sororities and others at the University of Minnesota to join the fight to expand abortion access and demand that university administration act on the needs of its students, campus workers and community.

#MinneapolisMN #StudentMovement #StudentsForADemocraticSocietySDS #AbortionRights