CLUW represents unions at women’s pro-choice march in D.C.

Washington (PAI) — Announcing a union presence at the massive pro-choice Women’s March in D.C., the Coalition of Labor Union Women proudly strode down Pennsylvania Avenue carrying a large banner, accompanied by Plumbers Union members from North Carolina.

The point of their appearance, said CLUW President Elise Bryant, was to make clear that Organized Labor stands with the nation’s women in their fight against Texas’ regressive SB8 abortion ban and the Republican-appointed conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, which appears on the verge of eliminating a woman’s right to reproductive choice.

“Thousands of people from all over the U.S. marched to the Supreme Court in support of abortion rights,” Bryant said of the Oct. 2 protest, where marchers filled Pennsylvania Avenue. Similar marches were held in 600 other cities across the country.

“I was inspired by the marchers and hopeful that the Supreme Court will hear our voices and maintain our constitutional right to maintain or terminate a pregnancy,” Bryant said.

In Chicago, Service Employees Local 1 joined thousands of other marchers through the Loop to Daley Plaza, where they rallied for reproductive choice while standing in front of Pablo Picasso’s giant Head of a Woman iron sculpture.

“Every person has the right to safe, accessible, and equitable health care! Solidarity with those in Texas and across the country who are fighting for bodily autonomy,” the local tweeted.

Besides groups like CLUW, and march sponsors such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood, many individual marchers came armed with their own stories about why women need freedom of choice.

Katherine Conklin of suburban Virginia was one. Her daughter lives in Texas. “Always pro-choice. Always pro-science. Always a voter. Forever a Mom,” her sign read.

Conklin explained to Press Associates Union News Service that her daughter, Elise, 5½  months pregnant in 2020, was carrying a fetus “with no chance of survival” because its bladder outlet to the placenta was obstructed. The fetus was literally being poisoned by urine buildup. Had Texas forced Elise to carry it to term, it would have died and her life could have been in danger, too.

The Texas law, SB8 – passed by the Republican-majority legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott – bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, a time when most women don’t even realize they’re pregnant. The Texas law gives $10,000 bounties to private “enforcers” who sue women, their doctors, nurses, spouses or or anyone else who helps them obtain an abortion. Twenty-five other Republican-majority states have similar abortion bans on the books or pending.

The U.S. Supreme Court  will hear a challenge to the law next month but has declined to block its enforcement while the case proceeds.

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