Supporters of reproductive rights are fighting back against Republican politicians’ latest wave of attacks on abortion rights by organizing nationwide protests and boycotts of states that have passed restrictive laws to challenge the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling.
Just days after the GOP governors of Alabama and Georgia signed off on “atrocious” abortion bans—and as Missouri’s Republican-controlled legislature sent a similar bill to that state’s governor Friday—a coalition of reproductive justice, women’s rights, and progressive groups announced #StopTheBans protests planned for next Tuesday.
“Across the country, we are seeing a new wave of extreme bans on abortion, stripping away reproductive freedom, and representing an all-out assault on abortion access,” says the coalition’s website. “This is Trump’s anti-choice movement… and it’s terrifying, particularly for women of color and low-income women who are most affected by these bans.”
The website promises, in response to the recent anti-choice measures, “we will show up to speak out and fight back against this unconstitutional attempt to gut Roe and punish women. Politicians shouldn’t be making decisions best left to women, their families, and their doctors.”
They’re coming for women.
They’re coming for doctors.
They’re coming for Roe.
But we’re the majority—and we’re NOT going back. Join us, @MoveOn, @IndivisibleTeam, @PPact @ACLU, and more in the streets on 5/21. Find a #StopTheBans event near you: https://t.co/G4OqYZwl5F pic.twitter.com/sE8fP14NeV
— NARAL (@NARAL) May 17, 2019
Organizers of the #StopTheBans protests include the ACLU, All* Above All Action Fund, EMILY’s List, Indivisible, MoveOn, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, UltraViolet, and Women’s March.
The state-level anti-choice laws have sparked national outrage in large part because of the potential consequences for reproductive rights throughout the United States.
“The politicians behind these laws have one very specific end goal in mind: overturning Roe v. Wade,” MoveOn explained in an email to members Friday. “They all know that these laws will never go into effect as they are written; their express goal is for them to be challenged in the courts, land in the conservative-held Supreme Court, and serve as the catalyst for a complete ban on abortions in America.”
Tuesday, May 21st at noon local time at statehouses, town squares, & courthouses across the nation, we will show up to speak out and fight back against this unconstitutional attempt to gut Roe & punish women. Together we say, #StopTheBans: https://t.co/ba6C6abRlr pic.twitter.com/yW2XTExTTb
— MoveOn (@MoveOn) May 17, 2019
As the #BoycottAlabama hashtag took off on social media Thursday, Reuters reported:
A day after the southern state passed the country’s most restrictive abortion law, Maryland’s Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot said he would advise his state’s $52 billion pension fund to divest from Alabama, and urged other states to follow suit.
Colorado’s Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold called for a boycott of Alabama and urged the Election Center, an organization that trains election officials from across the country, to move out of the state.
“Moves to boycott Alabama,” Reuters noted, “came after Hollywood stars like Alyssa Milano called on the media industry to pull out of neighboring Georgia, a hub for film and television production, after it passed a strict abortion law last week.”
Actor Jason Bateman, who is on two television shows that film in Georgia, told The Hollywood Reporter Thursday, “If the ‘heartbeat bill’ makes it through the court system, I will not work in Georgia, or any other state, that is so disgracefully at odds with women’s rights.”
Some progressives who oppose anti-choice laws, however, are also critical of the boycott calls—including Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who narrowly lost the Georgia gubernatorial race to Republican Brian Kemp last year.
“While I support those who want to live their values by not bringing their resources here, I do not want to harm the citizens of Georgia who are doing this work,” Abrams said on MSNBC Thursday.
I respect the call for a boycott on Georgia, but I do not believe it is the most effective, strategic choice for change. https://t.co/9W9M9sb6Zg
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) May 15, 2019
While the potential consequences of the abortion bans and the protests against them are national in scale, the response has been especially intense among those who live in affected states.
After Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed the state’s new abortion ban earlier this week, teenager Jocelyn Wright launched a petition—Youth Against the Alabama Human Life Protection Act—on Change.org. Wright is urging fellow young people to speak out against the law. In a statement provided to Common Dreams, she said:
I created this because I was appalled by Kate Ivey’s decision to completely disregard women’s constitutional right to safe abortions. I was even more disturbed by the fact that rape and incest victims are not exempted from the total-abortion ban. For me, it is baffling that a doctor carrying out an abortion (which every woman in the U.S. should legally be able to choose as an option themselves) now carries the same punishment as someone guilty of murder, rape, and other violent/serious crimes. Ivey is abusing her powers in a blatant fashion that completely goes against American ideals.
Though Wright’s petition focuses on Alabama, her message about the state’s law applies to bans in other states, too.
“Our government is supposed to be a champion of our rights and a tool for progress,” she concluded, “not a weapon to attack the very people who elect them.”