UMN students demand protections for women’s and reproductive rights
Minneapolis, MN – More than 70 protesters gathered outside the University of Minnesota’s Donhowe building for a demonstration in support of women’s and reproductive rights on Friday, May 20. The action was initiated by the UMN Twin Cities chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and raised demands for university administration’s action on women’s and reproductive rights.
The program kicked off with chants of “When abortion rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!” filling the air on University Avenue. After hearing speakers, the demonstrators began to march through the Dinkytown area, drawing the attention of passersby, many raising their fists in support, or taking out their phones to record. Some even joined the march as it went on.
Robyn Harbison and Haizela Wu spoke for SDS, detailing both the state of the current attacks on abortion rights and the specific demands being raised by them for the university to act on They demanded President Gabel issue a statement affirming support for women’s and reproductive rights, including: a module on reproductive health in freshman orientation; the creation of a Reproductive Health Advocacy and Education Center; and the boycott of states with “heartbeat” bills.
Mira Altobell-Resendez, from the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, explained the deep connection between capitalism and these attacks on women and reproductive rights. They made clear that these attacks are “capitalism’s way of keeping itself alive by exploiting women, queer and gender non-conforming people, oppressed nationality people, and the working class. To the ruling class, the safety of these people is expendable as long as their bodies fuel their economy.”
Other speakers included members of the Climate Justice Committee; Meredith Aby-Keirstead, of the MN Anti-war Committee, and Sam Martinez from the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar.
At the end of the action, Students for a Democratic Society invited all students interested in getting involved in this campaign for women’s rights and reproductive justice on campus to join them at their meetings every Thursday at 6 p.m. on the Knoll.