On-campus protest demands UTSA take official stance on Texas’ abortion ban


Dustin Vickers

Students join the march as protestors make their way across campus

Gauri Raje, News Editor

On Thursday, Oct. 6, UTSA’s chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) organized an abortion rights protest on the Main Campus. Other organizations that participated in the protest included UTSA’s chapter of Texas Rising, the San Antonio chapter of the Party for Socialism & Liberation (PSL) and the Mujeres Marcharan (MM) coalition. YDSA also received support from PRISM, Students for Beto and the Secular Student Alliance.

“Across the United States, we are seeing an aggressive rollback of abortion and reproductive rights,” Nicolas Solis, co-chair of YDSA at UTSA, said. “Texas is at the center of this. Texas law currently bans abortion from the moment of conception. Those seeking [an] abortion, doctors, and even good samaritans can now face life in prison and six-figure fines. These laws are unpopular, authoritarian, and will impact our most vulnerable communities. As socialists, we believe a better society will only be achieved if we fight for economic justice and social justice together. Our current for-profit society thrives on continuing sexist laws and attitudes.”

Solis, who is also a Student Government Association (SGA) senator, further explained that while cities like San Antonio and Austin have signaled disapproval of the abortion ban in Texas, the city of San Antonio and Bexar County have not passed any policy to protect abortion and reproductive rights as of Oct. 9.

According to Solis, the protest was organized as a part of the National Day of Action for Reproductive Rights and was one of several events held across the country by other YDSA chapters. The protest at UTSA was motivated by the “confusion and frustration” that YDSA members and students expressed over UTSA’s lack of communication about protecting student access to reproductive healthcare as well as misinformation about reproductive health on campus and intimidation of pro-choice students on campus.

“We talked with students and groups that felt the same way and formed a coalition to advocate for reproductive rights on campus. We hope to expand this coalition as the fight grows,” Solis said.

The protest started at the H-E-B Student Union and the group walked around campus holding a large ‘Bans Off Our Bodies’ sign as other students joined along the way. The protest ended at the Rowdy Statue, where the group read their demands.

The first set of demands, addressed to UTSA, included that the university takes an official stance on the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the abortion ban that has been imposed in the state of Texas. There are also demands to get the university to take action against the aforementioned misinformation being spread on campus about reproductive rights as well as to provide assistance to students who wish to seek abortions. Other demands addressed issues like access to free menstrual hygiene products, free contraceptives, free at-home pregnancy testing, affirmation of confidentiality for students visiting wellness clinics and increased advertising about services related to reproductive healthcare. The group also called on UT System and other universities in San Antonio to take action.

“Students have a right to know whether their university will support their right to reproductive healthcare,” Solis said.

Daleen Garcia, YDSA political action chair and organizer for PSL/MM, explained that the impact of the protest was to get the university to stand with the majority in what Garcia referred to as the “war against human rights.”

“The protest garnered a lot of support and interest from current students, alumni, faculty, and staff. This is clearly an important issue for all at UTSA,” Garcia said. “YDSA got to speak up for the students and those on campus and show that we are fighting for a better environment for each other. We had several students from the crowd join us while marching and stand in solidarity.”

The second set of demands was aimed at Bexar County. The group joined Mujeres Marcharan to demand that Bexar County be declared a “sanctuary for abortion rights” and that the county use its power and authority to assure that there is “zero enforcement of anti-abortion laws,” among other things. 

YDSA Secretary and SGA senator Mauricio Madrazo expressed the group’s intention to hold the UTSA administration accountable and continue “applying pressure” on the university to meet the aforementioned demands as well as to continue supporting the efforts of other organizations working to make Bexar County “an abortion sanctuary.”

“This is a highly personal issue that warrants open and respectful discourse. We value and encourage the free exchange of ideas and discussion of differing opinions,” Joe Izbrand, UTSA’s chief communications officer, said in a statement to The Paisano.

YDSA has another protest planned on Jan. 22 — the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The protest will take place at the San Antonio Federal Courthouse on 262 W Nueva St. For more information about the protest or upcoming events, students can reach out to YDSA via their Instagram, Twitter or email at [email protected].