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Minneapolis: Campus rally demands more abortion access

By Robyn Harbison and Jasper Nordin |
October 12, 2022
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SDS protest demands increased abortion access.
SDS protest demands increased abortion access. (Fight Back! News/Brad Sigal)

Minneapolis, MN - On October 7, over 40 students and community members gathered at Morrill Hall at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis to demand that the university administration take action to expand abortion access on campus. The crowd marched down Washington Avenue before arriving at Moos Tower, where the University of Minnesota medical school is located. 

The action was organized by the UMN chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, who have been organizing around women and reproductive rights on the University of Minnesota campus, as well as the Twin Cities area more generally, since the overturn of Roe v. Wade earlier this year. 

SDS presented several demands, including a newly updated reproductive health training module for incoming freshman, a well-funded center for reproductive health resources and an abortion clinic on every University of Minnesota campus, and for the university to cease business with states that ban abortion. 

Sophomore Olivia Sepich, an SDS member, presented the demands and was the first to speak in front of Morrill Hall. She reminded attendants, “The most important thing we have is each other and the communities that we build.” Other speakers in the first half of the protest included Aarushi Sen representing Students for Climate Justice and Olivia Crull representing the new-formed Minnesota Abortion Action Coalition. 

Speakers called attention to the barriers and fake “clinics” in place in the state of Minnesota that prevent people from seeking reliable healthcare. Olivia Crull, a member of Minnesota Abortion Action Coalition (MNAAC), raised that there are only eight abortion clinics in Minnesota, while there remain 90 crisis pregnancy centers, which are centers that attempt to dissuade patients from getting abortions and provide faulty resources like “abortion reversal pills.” These clinics receive funding from the state government, despite the fact that Governor Tim Walz, a Democrat, has repeatedly proclaimed his support for abortion rights, reflecting a contradiction between his words and his actions. 

As the crowd chanted and marched down Washington Avenue to the attention of onlookers at the nearby Green Line stop, protesters gathered in front of Moos Tower to listen to the final speakers. Some people stopped their commute down the street to listen to representatives of different organizations, like Cherrene Horazuk of AFSCME 3800, the clerical workers’ union at UMN, and Siobhan Moore of SDS and Freedom Road Socialist Organization. 

Sorcha Lona, another SDS member, closed out the protest by stressing the importance of more abortion clinics, and that restrictions to this access are a “shameful violation of bodily autonomy.” She continued, “We call on the administration of the University of Minnesota to do something about the scarcity of viable options for abortion. As an entity that holds so much power and influence throughout the state, the U has a responsibility to take care of its own community members.” With these statements, along with its unyielding community support, it is clear that SDS will make its presence known until their demands are met.

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