Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Graduate Students Across the U.S. Are Organizing for Abortion Rights

Students around the country are planning walkouts and other actions to defend abortion rights on October 6.

Olivia Wood

August 22, 2022
Facebook Twitter Share
Students marching with a banner that reads CUNY for Abortion Rights

This week, graduate students from more than fifty colleges and universities across the United States launched the Graduate Student Action Network (GSAN), a coalition centered around fighting for abortion rights and other forms of reproductive justice. GSAN’s first action is to coordinate a National Student Day of Action for abortion rights, to be held on October 6, the anniversary of the day a federal judge first blocked the draconian anti-abortion law in Texas.

The network includes graduate student unions, graduate student governments, and student advocacy organizations like Socialists of Caltech and CUNY For Abortion Rights. Students from almost two dozen schools across 14 states have signed on so far. Some schools are planning walkouts, while others are choosing less militant types of events like info sessions or wearing green to work.

Since Roe v. Wade was overturned in June, established NGOs like Planned Parenthood and the Women’s March have done relatively little to fight the abortion restrictions that have gone into effect in more than 25 states. Many individuals and smaller organizations have focused on raising money for abortion-focused mutual aid funds and clinics that are under siege. But students and workers know these efforts are tiny drops in the bucket when people — including children — are being forced to continue unwanted pregnancies. Mass action is needed.

These students and student groups recognize that the matter is too serious and too urgent not to take action. While some academic conferences are considering boycotting states that have banned or severely restricted access to abortion, students and faculty who live and work in those states are asking, “What about us?” Self-organization in our schools and workplaces is the answer. 

GSAN’s demands for the National Student Day of Action include:

  1. The right to safe, legal, and accessible abortions
  2. The right to gender-affirming care
  3. Free contraception
  4. Mandatory comprehensive sex education

Students are also encouraged to take up additional demands specific to local conditions at their schools, such as access to health insurance and childcare. 

You might be interested in: “The Democrats on Abortion Rights, in Their Own Words”

The Democratic Party cannot be trusted to protect abortion rights, as it has used the issue as a fundraising strategem for decades without ever following through on its promises. These graduate students are not alone: already, the Alphabet Workers Union, UPS Teamsters, and many other unions are making a stand, and even in deep red states like Kansas, however, the people themselves know the importance of protecting the right to an abortion. 

Campus unions and other higher education organizations, as well as members of the schools’ surrounding communities, should turn out on October 6 to support the students, participate in their actions, and join with them to organize bolder and more militant actions going forward. 

Facebook Twitter Share

Olivia Wood

Olivia is a writer and editor at Left Voice and lecturer in English at the City University of New York (CUNY).

United States

Protesters carrying Palestinian flags march on a street in front of a line of cops

Activists, Including Left Voice and Detroit Will Breathe Members, Arrested at Protest of Biden in Detroit, Free All Arrested and Drop All Charges

Detroit police brutally arrested activists who were protesting outside of Biden's speech to the NAACP.

Left Voice

May 19, 2024
Tents at the Rutgers University in NJ during the Palestine encampment in May, 2024

What the Movement for Palestine Can Learn from the Rutgers Encampment Deal

The Gaza solidarity encampment at Rutgers New Brunswick ended in a deal between the administration and a negotiations team at the camp. It’s been a highly controversial decision. The experience at Rutgers shows the need for a truly democratic, bottom-up fight for Palestine.

Jason Koslowski

May 17, 2024
Pro-Palestine encampment at UCLA in May, 2024.

“The Working Class has the Power to Stop this Genocide”: Interview with a UAW 4811 Rank and Filer

On Thursday May 15, 48,000 UAW Academic workers voted to authorize a strike, the largest academic workers union in the country to do so. Left Voice interviewed UAW 4811 member Peter Ross about what sparked this historic vote, and the labor movement’s fight for Palestine

Julia Wallace

May 16, 2024

Nakba Day: CUNY Faculty Stand Against Repression and for Palestine

On Nakba Day, faculty across different CUNY schools mobilized for Palestine and against the repression of protesters. The actions, organized through an assembly of workers, point toward the solidarity needed to continue and expand the student movement and fight for a free Palestine.

MOST RECENT

A Russian tank fires toward Kharkiv on the May 10 offensive against Ukraine.

Russia’s Offensive in Ukraine May Be a Turning Point in the War

Russia’s May 10 offensive in Ukraine may be a turning point in the dynamics of the war, and the specter of Ukraine’s defeat is exposing the cracks that divide the Western powers.

Claudia Cinatti

May 21, 2024
Signs and banners at the picket line in front of the UC Santa Cruz in May, 2024. UC student workers are beginning a historic strike for Palestine, against genocide.

University of California Student Workers Begin Historic Political Strike against Repression and Genocide

This week, student and postdoctoral workers at the University of California began a historic strike in response to the brutal, violent repression of students, faculty, and staff protesting for Palestine. The action marks an important escalation of the labor movement’s struggle in defense of Palestine and the right to protest.

Olivia Wood

May 21, 2024

Victory for the UAW at Volkswagen Plant in Chattanooga Represents a Potential Turning Point for Labor

Following a year of strong union struggles, a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee has voted to unionize with the UAW. This victory, in the traditionally anti-union South, shows that the terrain of labor struggle in the U.S. is shifting.

Joey Eichler

May 17, 2024
A rally in Brooklyn, people hold up UAW signs

University of California Academic Workers Authorize Strike to Defend the Right to Protest

48,000 workers are one step closer to going on strike to demand that charges and academic sanctions be dropped for the students and faculty who protest the genocide in Palestine and UC’s financial and academic ties to Israel.

Madeleine Freeman

May 16, 2024