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News and reports

September 2, 2005 | Page 11

Defend abortion rights
By Theresa Carlson

CHICAGO--Close to 70 abortion rights supporters came out August 23 to protest the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court at a speak-out called by the Illinois Choice Action Team of NARAL Pro-Choice America. The protest quickly turned into an impromptu counterdemonstration when a dozen members of the right-wing, bigoted Pro-Life Action League (PLAL) showed up.

The PLAL is dedicated to harassing abortion providers and the women who seek abortion services. Lead by Joe Scheidler, who has bragged that he helped organize a "pro-life Mafia," the PLAL is not only against abortion, but all forms of contraception as well as homosexuality.

Pro-choice activists confronted the PLAL, confidently standing in front of them and blocking their doctored pictures of fetuses and chanting "Pray, you'll need it. Your cause will be defeated," and "Keep your rosaries off our ovaries."

Since the nomination of the ultra-conservative Roberts, the PLAL has felt emboldened--showing up to protest two NARAL-sponsored pro-choice events in as many months. But after almost an hour of chanting and confrontation from the pro-choice side, the PLAL was forced to pack up its signs and leave.

Abortion-rights activists are vowing to keep up the pressure, since the PLAL is planning three events in early fall--including a "Forgiveness Day" on September 21 and a "Life Day" on October 19. As Kim Garvey, a student from the College of DuPage, told Socialist Worker, "We need to have bigger rallies in more cities. We need to get a lot of people out here. A year ago, I wouldn't have thought to come out to a demonstration, now I come out every time I know of one."

This demonstration was an important step in rebuilding the fight for abortion rights. It is going to take more actions, big and small, to mount a visible fight to keep abortion safe and legal.

Military out of our schools
By Chris Murphy

PROVIDENCE, R.I.--The Rhode Island Community Coalition for Peace Counter-Recruitment Street Team was busy with two actions in late August.

A group of four activists confronted an Army-sponsored basketball tournament called "And 1" on August 23. The Army hired models and gambling tables and sponsored the basketball tournament to entice potential recruits. But counter-recruiters were kicked out of Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence as they tried to carry out "Operation Shoot Hoops, not People." Despite this, we made our point, and the event was a success.

During the Puerto Rican Day Festival on August 28, we staged another action--dubbed "Operation This War is not a Game"--at the R.I. National Guard rock-climbing wall. As they engaged with two military recruiters, the counter-recruiters made the point that signing up for a war should not be equated with a game where you climb a wall.

Military recruiters claimed that the counter-recruiters did not care if youth at the festival went to college. "Can't you protest at the Army Recruiting Center instead?" a National Guard recruiter asked.

Several people signed up for more information at both events, and many families were looking for counter-information about military recruiting and how to get involved with mobilizing for the September 24 antiwar march in Washington, D.C.

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