Following the election of Donald Trump as president, more than two dozen students and community members gathered Thursday evening to discuss the fight for reproductive rights.
The International Socialist Organization hosted the talk entitled “In Defense of Reproductive Justice.” Women’s rights activist and member of the organization Dayna Long led the discussion.
Long, who previously served as president of Wisconsin’s chapter of the National Organization for Women, gave a speech touting women’s rights to abortion under the tagline “free abortion, on demand with no apologies.”
“We believe that individuals are the best judges of whether or not they are prepared to endure pregnancy or to raise a child,” Long said. “Anyone that wants or needs an abortion should have one.”
Long said that while abortion is currently legal in the United States, she fears what may come under heightened Republican influence come January. As it is, she said every attempt has been made since Roe v. Wade to erode women’s right to abortion by limiting access. For example, a waiting period and required ultrasound was imposed on women interested in abortions in Wisconsin.
After Long’s speech, the room opened up for discussion on abortion.
ISO member and attendee Kim Gasper-Rabuck said she is a socialist because she believes the system has a vested interest in controlling her body, including through the implementation of limitations on abortion.
“Working class women and poor women deserve to control their own bodies,” she said.
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Hayley Archer, a University of Wisconsin law student, said Roe v. Wade was a poor piece of legislation from the beginning. Roe v. Wade created somewhat of a sliding scale to determine legality of an abortion by tethering the right to have an abortion to not just the interest of a woman but the interest of the state.
Archer asserted that abortion is health care. Women should enjoy it as a right in itself.
“Our lives are enough,” Archer said.
The group also discussed ways to advance the socialist platform among the general public, especially through protests and marches.
Multiple ISO members advocated for breaking away from the Democratic Party in order to push for their exact demands.
According to data from the Pew Research Center, 56 percent of U.S. adults say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, so Long said the group already has a solid foundation to gain support.