A leaked draft of a majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito indicates that the Supreme Court has voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, effectively nullifying any constitutional protection for women in the United States seeking an abortion. The implications of this are especially worrying to those closest to the issue: feminists and other proponents of women’s rights, healthcare workers, and women in marginalized communities.
Those in Seattle who felt alone in this struggle, however, may have been reassured by a large show of support at Westlake Park downtown on the evening of May 3. Organized in part by Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant and her backing party, Socialist Alternative, the event featured speakers from various advocacy organizations, including the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the Resident & Physician Union Northwest.
A speaker from the DSA emphasized classism in regard to abortion rights stating that, “rich people will still be able to get abortions… working class people will suffer from this… 30% of our country will live over 200 miles from an abortion clinic.” Kevin Vitz-Wong, a local activist, backed this sentiment, saying “working people need to organize and mount a fight back, not just a defensive but an offense.”
Arlene Plevin, a retired professor, shared her experiences in previous decades protesting for the same rights that are currently in peril and urged Americans to go beyond merely a retweet. “It’s not enough to vote, it’s not enough to be a Facebook activist. Study world history,” Plevin said, pointing out how fascism can rise from “book banning and controlling womens’ bodies.”
The sentiment that electoral participation isn’t the solution was shared by another speaker, who stated, “72% of Americans oppose overturning Roe v Wade. We can’t wait for the courts or the Biden administration to bring justice.” She asked, “Are we gonna wait and vote?”, to which the crowd responded with a resounding “No!”
Hundreds attended this Tuesday rally, but activists intend to keep raising awareness with future events. A flier from Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights encourages turnout at another rally on Saturday, May 14 at 1 p.m. This rally, part of “mass unified protests nationwide”, will take place at Seattle Central College’s outdoor plaza on Broadway and E Pine St.