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In Indy, hundreds defend abortion rights, beat back reactionaries

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On May 4, over 500 people showed up to Monument Circle to defend abortion rights following the leak of the Supreme Court’s majority opinion draft on Roe v. Wade. Within 48 hours of the news breaking, the Indianapolis branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation organized a street demonstration to demand the right to abortion and reproductive justice, which was joined by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Central Indiana DSA, and other groups.

Clinic escort and longtime Indianapolis organizer Sam James emceed the rally, introducing a diverse array of speakers, including Jessica Louise of Indy10 Black Lives Matter, a new mother, Dr. Katie McHugh, an abortion provider, Cambria York of the Indianapolis Liberation Center, and others. These varied voices showcased how central reproductive justice is to the struggles of working class and oppressed peoples, including women and gender minorities. “An injury to one is an injury to all,” as the labor movement slogan goes.

About 30 minutes into the rally, a small group of counter-protesters marched toward Monument Circle to try and disrupt the demonstration. When they tried to take the Circle, rally participants spontaneously blocked their advance. Organizers led chants as James instructed protestors to link their hands behind their backs to form a barricade. The people defended their territory.

The confrontation energized the rally, which continued uninterrupted. Meanwhile, a few city cops lingered down the block that they shut down to traffic. After about 30 minutes, most of the counter-protesters fled.

Although the official rally ended at 6:30, hundreds of people remained on the Circle as organizers took the microphone in turns to speak on the struggle for women’s rights in the United States. Stephen Lane remarked that the police didn’t do anything during the confrontation and that the people took care of it themselves. Lane’s remarks echoed those of Dr. McHugh, who earlier told the crowd, “It is scary, but we take care of each other.”

The people are growing more and more conscious of their power to create change through unity and solidarity against oppression. It also shows that the people are ready to deepen their understanding and political knowledge. They are willing to fully grasp why and how, after 50 years and countless opportunities, the so-called “liberals” have failed to pass universal healthcare, let alone the right to abortion.

This Sunday, we’re keeping the struggle going with a protest at the Indiana Statehouse at 12:00 pm. Join us!