Demonstrators donned in pink and hoisting up picket signs chanted in the Wisconsin State Capitol building this morning during the special legislative session to attempt to repeal Wisconsin’s 172 year old abortion law.
Planned Parenthood led the rally along with a speaking event where Tara Stangler, a campus leader at University of Wisconsin, kicked it off with a discussion of representation of BIPOC and queer people in the conversation of reproductive rights.
“Everyone is included in ‘our’, not just white folks, not just affluent folks, it is everyone. So the minute they come for any of us, they are coming for all of us. This is not just a ‘you versus them’ this is an ‘us versus them’ and we have to stop thinking about it from an individualistic standpoint,” said Stangler.
Darlene Johns, the democracy organizer at Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, or BLOC, expanded on BIPOC and queer representation. Johns also spoke on the lack of systemic support to help pregnant people who need medical care.
They said, “And understand that this is everybody’s issue, because we don’t have the infrastructure to support the ban that they are proposing. And it’s a ban that they—largely, they the supreme court—largely will not be subject to, because they got the dollars to do what they want to do, to help the people that they want to help. We don’t got that. I don’t have that… So continue to organize, continue to speak, and continue to be loud.”
Sarah Noble is a community advocate from Milwaukee and former executive director of the Reproductive Justice Collective. Noble talked about how abortion access intersects with the struggle for truly equitable rights.
“Black people and other people of color know all too well, that our rights, the rights that exist, don’t always apply to us,” Noble stated. She continued, “When rights don’t apply to all individuals at all times, they are not rights. The are conditional benefits that have inequitably been distributed. So for us, not having abortion access care, will have dire consequences. Black people and other people of color, including youth, disproportionally experience far too many health disparities. We don’t need to experience more harm, like having to leave the state to access safe and legal abortion care.”
Tanya Atkinson is the President of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin. She ended the demonstration with a talk about love, and the power it has within the movement for abortion access.
Atkinson explains, “Love is what keeps us moving forward when we are so angry that a minority holds power, and they hoard power. Taking away the bodily agency and autonomy from millions across our nation, and right here in our state of Wisconsin. Love is what energizes us to get up after we have our moments on our knees, sobbing in pain and disbelief, because we know the irreparable harm that will be caused if abortion is not safe and legal. Abortion does not go away, it becomes unsafe. Love is what compelled us to be here today with each other to demand a different future for Wisconsin, for our friends, our families, our neighbors. Love is what gives us the courage to speak from the rooftops that everybody deserves access to abortion. Regardless of their reason, or their race, or their gender, or their sexual orientation, or their income level, or their immigration status.”
Planned Parenthood has stopped scheduling appointments past this Saturday, June 25th. That’s in anticipation of the expected decision from the US Supreme Court in the coming days. But Atkinson says they’ll still be assisting people in need of a safe abortion.
“We have relationships with the other states. We can help provide care on the front end, we can help people navigate to other states and access a safe and legal abortion. And we can be here for the people of Wisconsin who need an abortion when they come back home again. So, we really encourage people—if you need an abortion—to please reach out to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, and we can help you,” She stated.
Planned Parenthood plans to distribute “Make a Plan” pregnancy kits throughout the summer. The kits include emergency contraception, condoms, a pregnancy test, and more information on the threats to abortion access. Patients can receive a kit by visiting Planned Parenthood or making an appointment.
Images Courtesy of Teaghan Carter / WORT News