AUSTIN, TX – Local chapters of the Democratic Socialists of America held an Organized Labor Rally for Reproductive Justice and Resource Fair at the Federal Courthouse in Austin. They demand the right to abortion.
The event included unions, activists and abortion funds. Organizers say the resource fair brings together everyone from legal experts to unions, highlighting working class voices.
“If we can just make sure anyone looking for these resources or this way forward gets in touch, that will be a hit for us,” said Heidi Sloan, volunteer organizer for the Austin Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.
She says the goal is to connect people through collective organizing.
“We know that reproductive justice falls most unequally on people of color and the poor. When we have people of color and the poor who are already marginalized in many ways, afraid to get the health care they need need, we know we’re getting deadly results,” Sloan said. “We are also concerned about investigations into people’s lives, their privacy, their personal information.”
A labor organizer says abortion rights issues can really impact those in the working class.
“Someone earning a low salary will not be able to afford to care for a family…and until someone is ready for that, it should be their choice and their ability to plan their own family and being able to decide when it happens to them,” said Abigail Leighton, union organizer at IBEW Local 520. “The beauty of having a family is that ‘she has to be full of love, and she has to be fun, and she has to be beautiful and wonderful. It shouldn’t be this thing where you go, ‘wow, my life is ruined. ‘”
Organizers say the timing of the rally comes before Texas trigger law takes effect on August 25, which will increase penalties for abortion providers.
Mary Castle, Senior Policy Advisor at Texas Values, said, “It’s disappointing that they’re hosting this rally. We should celebrate the recent Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs vs. Jackson that will save thousands of lives, including the life of babies in texas. . ”
Castle says there are programs that can help struggling families.
“[In addition to government programs], there are many pregnancy resource centers that help women economically, whether they need to get back on their feet and get a better job to take care of their families. Of course, there is always the opportunity for our state and local government to ensure that we have adequate programs to help families succeed. Ultimately, a baby’s life should never be a sacrifice for a family to succeed,” she said.