UWSP Democrats Host “Student Rally for Reproductive Justice”

The UWSP Democrats hosted the “Student Rally for Reproductive Justice” Oct. 2 at Debot Field in opposition to Texas Senate Bill 8.

The bill bans all abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detected, approximately six weeks gestation.

The bill also allows individuals to sue someone who assisted in an abortion in Texas.

President of the UWSP Democrats Madeline Miner and Vice President Landon Vosters worked alongside the rest of the organization to make the rally happen.

Dozens of locals and UWSP students were in attendance as many of which carried and displayed homemade signs.

Miner lead the crowd in various chants before introducing the three speakers at the rally.

The first speaker was Katrina Shankland, Representative for Wisconsin Assembly District 71.

“Reproductive rights are human rights,” Shankland said, “and politics has no place in a pregnant person’s most deeply personal health care decisions.”

Shankland signed an amicus brief with 900 state legislators to challenge extreme anti-reproductive health laws.

The second speaker at the rally was Lily Beaudoin, UWSP Reproductive Health Peer Educator.

Part of her job is working on the Condom Fairy project that gives UWSP residents free condoms every month in an attempt to promote safe sex.

She said of the bill, “It’s only creating an environment where people will hurt themselves.”

Meleesa Johnson, President of the Stevens Point Common Council, Supervisor of the Portage County Board of Supervisors, and Chair of the Portage County Diversity and Inclusion Committee, gave the final speech.

When Johnson was 12 years old she marched on the UWSP campus for the same reasons she was at the rally Oct. 2.

“It’s about peeling back the rights of all people to be treated equally,” Johnson said, explaining that this topic spills over to other equal rights issues. “It’s okay to not want to have children.”

Johnson said that everyone should be a part of making change by voting in local and state elections.

Miner also encouraged attendees to get out and vote on election days.

Free condoms, pamphlets about reproductive health care, resources on how to register to vote, Planned Parenthood merchandise, and materials to make signs and posters were provided at the rally information booth.

Approximately 650 other cities in the U.S. hosted rallies and marches in opposition to the bill.