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Seattle responds to "egregious attack" on bodily autonomy

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Photo courtesy of Refuse Fascism
Photo courtesy of Refuse Fascism

Seattleites took to the streets in droves Tuesday, May 3 to protest a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion arguing that landmark abortion rights and bodily autonomy cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey be repealed. Over 3,000 people marched downtown from Westlake Plaza, answering the call to action from Councilmember Kshama Sawant and the Socialist Alternative party on Twitter.

"DEFEND Roe v. Wade!" tweeted Sawant on May 2, "Abortion rights were won in the first place only through defiant mass protests by ordinary women, working people. Now's the time for socialists, the labor movement, the left to call for immediate mass protests, workplace actions against this egregious attack."

Photo courtesy of Refuse Fascism  

Speakers at the rally in Westlake Plaza actively called out the establishment political left, in stark contrast to the gathering of elected officials that took place the same day at Kerry Park. "Biden already put out his statement. He says we should wait until November and then vote for more pro-choice candidates," said Kaylin Nicholson, an organizer with the Socialist Alternative Party. "Are we going to wait until November?"

"No!" the crowd responded.

Among the speakers was Democratic Socialist congressional candidate Stephanie Gallardo, who started her impassioned speech with, "I also just want to recognize the inherent conflict, being a person who is running for an elected position, when I know the answer to this issue is not electoralism."

"How was Roe v. Wade won in the first place?" spoke Sawant toward the end of the rally. "It was not won by some benevolence or wisdom of the justice system. Like all victories for the working class under capitalism, it was wrenched from the hands of the powerful by mass movements."

At the Kerry Park rally earlier in the day, Governor Jay Inslee and other local elected democrats decried the leaked Supreme Court opinion as "extreme" and promised that abortions would remain legal in Washington state as it has been since 1970, before Roe v. Wade was passed.?

"Washington state is a pro-choice state, and we are gonna fight like hell to keep Washington a pro-choice state." said Inslee to those gathered that afternoon.

Congressmember Pramila Jayapal was also among those who spoke at the Kerry Park event. "If this opinion comes to pass, it will be the most horrific and unprecedented rollback of women's rights in our history," she said. "There is a straight line from upending abortion rights to getting rid of access to contraception to banning gay marriage, and our low-income communities, our black and brown communities, our LGBTQ communities will be the ones who pay the steepest price."

On the Hill, a group of Black Bloc Anarchists took up post at the corner of 11th near Cal Anderson Park. They stood — faces covered and flares in hand — behind a sign that read "Burn Our Rights, we Burn URState" and chanted slogans at passersby. The Anarchists gained a lot of attention from alt-right media affiliates like Breitbart, who chose to portray the three separate May 3 rallies as one in order to stoke fear in their readers.

What comes next
While the overall response from Seattle's left and left-leaning factions varies, the message is the same. Abortion rights are here to stay, at least in Washington state. Rallies, protests, and walkouts are being planned as follows:

  • May 8 to May 15 — Mother's Day Strike. Activists across the country are calling for mothers to "break the economy over the course of one week by abstaining from work, shopping, entertaining; and on the home front, running a household that would fall apart without your care." For more information and a list of direct actions, go to https://www.mothersdaystrike.com/
  • May 13 — Students are calling for a walkout to defend Roe v. Wade in solidarity with young people across the nation.
  • May 14, 11 am — Kshama Sawant is hosting a gathering at Cal Anderson Park in conjunction with Planned Parenthood's day of action. https://www.facebook.com/events/527636502138024 for more details.
  • May 14, 1 pm — Refuse Fascism Seattle kicks off their week of protest with a protest at Seattle Central College Plaza. Attendees are encouraged to wear green bandanas. For more information, check out #green4abortion or go to https://actionnetwork.org/groups/refuse-fascism-seattle/
  • DSA holds a mutual aid event every Friday at University Playground Park. 4:30pm. To get involved, contact Rosa Hayes through the DSA slack

    The events listed above are only a few ways readers can get involved with their community in the next few weeks. If you have a community event that you would like to add to the SGN's radar, please contact us at [email protected]