Pittsburgh: Activists Protest Crisis Pregnancy Center, March in Defense of Right to Abortion

By Sarah Ahmed

Last Saturday, students, workers, and activists took the streets at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) and rallied at Women’s Choice Network, an anti-women crisis pregnancy center (CPC) on campus. Speakers highlighted the need for greater organization and militancy to fight the attacks on abortion rights and denounced politicians like Pittsburgh mayor Ed Gainey, who present themselves as ‘progressive’ while supporting bills that fund CPCs, which pose as abortion clinics but exist to dissuade women from getting abortions using dishonest tactics.

The rally was an action of the Abortion Defense Committee (ADC), a group “of students, abortion advocates, [and] workers … who are passionate about defending the right to abortion and fighting against fake clinics in the Pittsburgh area.”

A speaker at the march stated, “We’re not here in the street asking them to give us the right to abortion—we’re here to fight and defend our right to abortion.”

A veteran activist for women’s rights described when women had no access to safe, legal abortions and often risked their lives when seeking illegal ones from providers who had no medical training: “My husband’s grandmother died. She bled to death outside a Chicago hospital from a backstreet abortion.”

Protesters were heard chanting, “Defend the right to abortion, organize women for revolution!” and “Fake abortion clinics, out of Pittsburgh!” Demonstrators also carried a banner reading “Roe v Wade was won through struggle! Continue the fight for abortion rights!”

During the march, a reactionary threatened to drive through the march but the protesters held their ground.

An activist with ADC pointed out that Ed Gainey and other purportedly ‘pro-choice’ Democrats have co-sponsored and voted in support of bills like House Bill 1348, which provides funds for CPCs to target “women whose gross family income is below 185% of the federal poverty guideline,” and disallows clinics that provide abortions from using these funds. While there are eight anti-women CPCs in Pittsburgh, there are only two legitimate women’s health clinics that provide abortions in the city.

The activist said, “Our electoral system, our political system, our economic system, has always served the ruling class.”

Following the march, activists glued posters onto the windows of the CPC, reading, “This is a fake abortion clinic” and “Defend the right to abortion.”

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