On December 1st, a feminist coalition held a rally in Chicago’s Federal Plaza in defense of Roe v. Wade. The protest, titled Rally For Abortion Rights, comes in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on the controversial Mississippi abortion ban which could effectively overturn Roe v. Wade. The rally was co-sponsored by Chicago DSA and a number of other feminist organizations, including Chicago Abortion Fund, the Illinois Single-Payer Coalition, the Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women, and the Chicago Abortion Fund.
Ali C. (they/them) is an organizer with SocFem of Chicago DSA. They agreed to share about their experience emceeing the rally, as well as about where they see the fight for abortion rights going next.
Midwest Socialist: Where does America fit into the international fight for abortion rights?
Ali C.: Abortion rights have never been handed over by those in power. They’ve been fought hard for and won by energized feminists mobilizing en masse, as we’ve learned from activists in Mexico, Argentina, and Ireland and their recent victories. It is our job to take the fight directly to those in power and show them that we are not backing down, and to nurture solidarity in our communities so we can bring folks together around abortion rights.
MWS: It appears that the Supreme court may overturn Roe v. Wade. How should we respond as socialists?
Ali: The next few months, we need to stay in the streets, give money to abortion funds, and build strong relationships in our communities because we keep us safe. Now is the time to take to the streets!
MWS: You helped organize the Rally For Abortion Rights. What was the turnout like?
Ali: The turnout felt really strong! We had a good showing of folks from lots of different organizations, including a big contingent from CDSA. Speakers from CTU, CDSA Labor Branch, Chicago Abortion Fund, healthcare providers, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, Gay Liberation Network, Chicago NOW, and other orgs.
MWS: You emceed the rally. How did that feel?
Ali: Seeing so many faces there really reminded me of how important it is that we show up for each other like this. Our safety and our lives are our own to defend together, and it takes all of us to create the world we know we deserve. Politicians and capitalist oppressors will never be stronger than the networks of solidarity that we can build to keep each other safe.
MWS: This rally had a large and diverse turnout from a wide coalition. However, leftist organizations often don’t prioritize abortion rights year-round. Do you feel there your cis male comrades have been showing up in solidarity on this issue?
Ali: Cis men have not been showing up in the numbers and strength that we really need, to be honest. Patriarchy and white supremacy thrive on individualism; they split us from each other in attempts to destroy our bonds of solidarity. That’s what we need to see men really embrace, that to truly be in solidarity means not only showing up for your comrades organizing on the shop floor, but to join the fight for abortion rights and bodily autonomy, too. To assert that abortion is healthcare is a right, and that all of our liberation is bound together.
MWS: Let’s say that, despite our best efforts, Roe v. Wade is still overturned. How should we as socialists respond in that scenario?
Ali: Win or lose, our mission remains the same: stay in the streets demanding abortion rights and full bodily autonomy for all people. That’s a fight much bigger than just one Court and their decision. Regardless of the decision in this particular case, and as one of our speakers reminded us on Wednesday, many people are already living in a “post-Roe” world right now, and we’re fighting for them, too. As a collective, we may say “no days off,” and I believe that to be true. But when we say that we refuse to take a day off from the fight for abortion rights, we refer to the movement as a whole. That’s why we need everyone to show up to this fight. Together we can build a movement that is both sustainable and ferocious.