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Students protest against anti-abortion conference on campus

By Mantak Singh

Tacoma, WA – On June 24, over 20 people came to a 7 a.m. protest organized by Progressive Student Union-UW Seattle and Progressive Student Union-UW Tacoma against an anti-abortion conference held at the University of Washington Tacoma.

The Northwest Pro Life Conference’s goal, as stated on their website is to, “persevere until abortion is no more.” As such, they held workshops ranging from “Kicking Planned Parenthood Out of Schools” to “How to Defend Your Pro-Life Position.” Furthermore, they explicitly targeted children, as demonstrated by their youth discount.

However, students and community members showed that they will not stand idly by as their campus is used to further an anti-abortion agenda. Starting early in the morning, the crowd marched and chanted, “When abortion rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” and, “From Seattle to Spokane, abortion rights are here to stay!”. After the chants, there were several speeches.

Maríana Bravo, a recently graduated high school student, said, “I stand here for those who had to stand still as they took on their choice, I stand here for those who made their choice in silence, I stand here for those who made their choice after unspeakable violence and violation, I stand for those who made for their choice because it was their choice respectfully, I stand for those who reclaimed their bodies and took control, I stand for those who fight for their choice every day.”

Gemini Gnull, a member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, said, “Marsha P. Johnson and the other warriors at the Stonewall Uprising who gave us Pride – happy Pride month! – to the brave queer fighters of the communist led New People’s Army in the Philippines, to the state-sponsored drags shows held by Socialist Cuba have shown us that when we fight, we can win, and that the road to communism necessitates our collective liberation.”

After the first round of speeches students and community members gathered around a pop-up tent provided by a local pastry company. Several small businesses shut down business for the day to support and join in the protest. The pop-up biscuit stand and other businesses that remained open donated proceeds towards reproductive clinics.

The activists soon returned to marching, chanting and giving speeches. Amelia Escobedo, an organizer with PSU-UW Tacoma, said, “Are men’s rights under attack? Are men forced to have vasectomies? Are there any laws on your genitalia? No. Then, why are their laws on women’s genitalia?”

The organizers demand that the university issue a statement to the campus community that the Northwest Pro Life Conference event is not endorsed by UW Tacoma, commit to a policy of providing readily accessible information about all upcoming campus events, and explore a policy establishing that all campus events must be officially sponsored by members of the campus community.

#TacomaWA #abortion #AbortionRights