The Hudson County Democratic Socialists of America hosted an abortion rights rally last night in light of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade, beginning at Harborside outside U.S. Senator Bob Menendez’s office and ending at Jersey City City Hall.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
The Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Movement also joined in the protest.
“Free abortion on demand without apology! Hey hey ho ho The Supreme Court has go to go!,” the group of over 100 people chanted.
They demanded Congress codify Roe vs. Wade to make abortion federally legal, end the Senate filibuster, and for President Joe Biden (D) to appoint more Supreme Court Justices.
“It’s an attack that will be especially felt by women of color, by trans and nonbinary people, and other marginalized communities,” DSA activist Sophia Cutler said.
“But it’s also an attack on working-class communities. Barring our ability to get an abortion is an attack on working-class families and communities and their right of determination. People like Menendez here are not up to the task of this fight. Who is up for the task of this fight?”
“We are,” the group shouted in response.
Cutler also noted several House Democrats are pro-life, including U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, among others. U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema also drew the ire of the crowd at certain points.
“We cannot rely on politicians primarily invested in the billionaire class. It is an attack on the working class of this country that has been hammered. Banning our right to abortion is banning our right to self-determination to freedom and that has got to stop,” Cutler continued.
“The Democratic Party needs to step up,” she added.
Lillian Diaz, a JCAVCM member, called the court’s decision “violence against women.”
“I’m angry as a woman. Abortion is a human right. It doesn’t just stop. It becomes dangerous. This is violence against women. Banning abortion creates violence,” she began.
“I’m angry. I’ve been angry all day. I’m angry because I’m a woman. I’m angry because I’m a mother with a 16-year-old daughter. When we ban abortion, we create violence against women,” she added.
The message that Democratic leaders have failed was repeated several times.
“Democrats are failing us. It’s a fight on our bodies. It’s a fight on our communities. Every day something is taken by either the billionaire class or the Right. Our institutions are failing. We have to build new institutions!,” said Hudson County DSA activist Isaac Jimenez.
The protest then marched from Harborside to Jersey City Hall across downtown to meet a crowd that appeared to be hosting a silent vigil.
“We all knew this decision was coming since the leaked decision. However, it doesn’t do anything to soften the blow. Nothing could prepare us for this moment,” North New Jersey Democratic Socialists of America Treasurer Julia Tache said.
She noted that conservative states will now move to ban abortions quickly due to the Supreme Court’s decision, which was expected after a draft opinion leaked last month – prompting the local DSA to hold a rally at the same location.
“We are being forced to bring children into a country where there’s no formula on shelves, where school shootings are a regular part of American life, where a gun has more rights than a uterus, and where women and people die at outrageous rates giving birth, where trans people are already denied healthcare on a daily basis,” Tache said.
She said an abortion ban in Romania, where she has family, has led to an orphan crisis, as well as deaths from failed abortions.
“I remember spending a lot of money on pregnancy tests and having panic attacks when my period was a few days late because of the fear,” she recalled.
“This proves how illegitimate the Supreme Court is: It is an undemocratic institution with zealots appointed by a president who lost the popular vote. The law unfortunately is not on our side and we need to be ready to defy the law to keep abortion accessible and each other safe.”
She further stated that people need to act now since contraception and gay marriage could easily be banned next.
In New Jersey and other blue states, abortions remain legal.
While Menendez did not address the crowd, he said in a statement earlier in the day that “Republicans have succeeded in plunging our nation back to the dark days” and vowed to continue fighting.
“Today, I share your anger and disappointment. I share your frustration and your outrage. Tomorrow, and every day after until full reproductive health care access is fully restored, I stand ready to fight with you,” he said.
Additionally, his son, 8th District Democratic congressional nominee Rob Menendez, was in attendance at the vigil at City Hall.
Other actions planned for this weekend include a Jersey City Young Democrats rally at City Hall, 280 Grove St., at 2 p.m. this afternoon, along with the Jersey City councilwomen and Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31) hosting one at the City Hall Annex, 1 Jackson Square, Sunday at 4 p.m.