‘I feel so helpless’: Sproul Plaza abortion rights rally unites community

photo of abortion protest
Rae Wymer/Courtesy
Protesters gathered Saturday at Sproul Plaza to rally against the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that repealed Roe v. Wade.

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Protesters gathered at Sproul Plaza on Saturday night to support the right to accessible abortions.

About 150 people gathered on the steps of Sproul Hall at 6 p.m. with signs reading “Abort the Supreme Court,” “Reproductive rights are human rights!” and “My body my choice.” Organizers in green shirts passed out pamphlets explaining the impact of repealing Roe v. Wade, while the crowd blocked off most of the plaza and listened to speeches.

The rally and open mic were organized by Speak Out Socialists, a revolutionary socialist organization and activist movement. The event brought together campus students and locals to protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to effectively repeal the right to abortion at the federal level. Organizers of the rally encouraged attendees to share their personal experiences, stories and thoughts on the decision.

“It’s good to see that people are ready to stand up if they want,” said Mariah Auler, a speaker and organizer with Speak Out Socialists, at the protest. “This is just the beginning.”

Campus senior and organizer Aidan Byrne-Sarno said the rally was a chance for people to come together and find unity despite feeling politically isolated.

Other protesters also agreed with the need for urgency and organization.

Campus senior Dahlia Saba said that in order to regain the right to an abortion, the current intensity of action needs to continue. Saba added that rather than waiting on politicians to act, there needs to be “fighting in the streets.”

“I feel so helpless with the fact that we’re going backwards with regards to the rights that we have in this country,” Saba said at the protest.

Campus junior Eliana Galán shared her perspective on abortion rights as a Texas resident, where abortions have been more restricted. She encouraged audience members to donate to those in need of abortions.

“Showing up, voting, rallying — all that’s important, but at the end of the day, money is what funds people to be able to access abortion and what allows people to mobilize and have resources,” Galán said at the protest. “That’s what is needed.”

Despite the sadness and frustration articulated by Galán and Saba regarding the ruling, they agreed that the event inspired hope for future action.

Byrne-Sarno stressed the importance of individual action and coming together as a society in order to inspire a mass movement.

“Each of us has to be talking with the people around us,” Byrne-Sarno said at the protest. “We have to provide a political perspective and we have to bring people out to events like this.”

Contact Rae Wymer at [email protected], and follow them on Twitter at @rae_wymer.