1428 N Farwell, Milwaukee, 2-4 P.M.
The Milwaukee General Defense Committee is calling for a counter-demonstration of the right-wing anti-abortion organization 40 Days for Life. 40 Days for Life “is a focused pro-life campaign with a vision to access God’s power…to end abortion.” They attempt to steer patients away from accessing safe and legal healthcare with messages of shame, and divert them to non-medical religious “counseling” across the street. They will be at Affiliated Medical Services from 2/14 until 3/30 (lent).
Last fall, we turned out twice to show them that Milwaukee supports abortion access. They responded with racism and misogyny. We successfully reclaimed space in front of the clinic, showed support for AMS, shared our stories, and had a sidewalk dance party. They’ll be back and re-energized for their spring campaign though, and we need to show that Milwaukee still supports abortion access and will show up for AMS.
We typically do not confront these people at clinics to reduce the stress level for patients who are attempting to enter the clinic. On Sunday, the clinic will be closed and we’ll be taking a stand for free, safe, on-demand abortion in our community. Join us to show that Milwaukee won’t accept for their messages of shame. Our bodies are our own!
Logistics & Accessibility Considerations:
Exact details will be posted prior to the event.
-Anti-abortion protesters and hostile media frequently film counter-protesters, and edit and publicize the footage in an attempt to intimidate, harass, and threaten us and our families and friends. Please consider covering your face with a scarf, bandana, hat, and/or sunglasses if you do not want to be filmed and publicly identified to your employer, family, hostile groups, or the general public.
– Anti-abortion protesters may attempt to press charges for anything they perceive as a threat. We recommend not initiating or escalating confrontations with anti-abortion protesters. They will likely attempt to initiate confrontations and discussions with us, including placing hands on people without our consent, blowing incense smoke at us, and shoving crosses and signs in our faces. If they put you in a situation where you feel threatened or uncomfortable, marshals are available to help support you.
– If driving, consider parking several blocks away. In the past, anti-abortion protesters have tracked people through their license plates and harassed them at their homes.
– We’ll have some signs available. If you’re bringing your own, avoid trans-exclusionary language, i.e. referring to all abortion patients as women, equating gender with genitals, etc. There are many people who aren’t women who need to access abortion care, and womanhood isn’t tied to reproductive organs.
– Abortion clinics are subject to threats and acts of violence from the far right. AMS maintains a working relationship with the Milwaukee Police Department. Please respect their desire to maintain that. AMS also has friendly relationships with most neighboring businesses. Please respect their desire to maintain those.
– Purpose: We are showing up to counter the anti-abortion protesters who are intensifying their push to close clinics in February and March. Our goal is to demonstrate to them and to the public that Wisconsin supports our last independent abortion clinic, and that there’s no space for shame or guilt here.
– Accessibility considerations: This event will begin with a very short march (1-2 blocks) and then is expected to be a mostly stationary gathering on sidewalks for approximately 60-90 minutes. No seating is available. There will be chanting, speaking, and music through megaphones and speakers. In the past antis have brought incense and fanned the smoke at us. With a topic as sensitive as abortion, there is potential for intense imagery, language, and tones from the anti-abortion protesters.
The Milwaukee General Defense Committee is not affiliated with or sponsored by Affiliated Medical Services.
The General Defense Committee is the community self-defense arm of the Industrial Workers of the World. The Milwaukee IWW is a member-run union for all workers, a union dedicated to organizing on the job, in our industries. and in our communities.
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Donations of the following will be accepted at the event:
-New underwear (adult- any size)
-Sweatpants/yoga pants (adult- any size)
-Winter coats (adult/child- any size)
-Hoodies (any size)
-Longer t-shirts (adult- any size)