Several hundred high school students demanding abortion rights walked out of their classrooms and marched to City Hall for a rally May 25. Starting at noon, the rally grew in size as more contingents of youth joined in. The energy level was electrifying.

Student walkout for reproductive rights, Philadelphia, May 25.  WW Photos: Joe Piette

Rally participants were majority youth of color, reflecting the concerns of communities already lacking adequate access to maternal health care and most likely to be hardest hit by any abortion bans.

Participants included students from Masterman High School and Middle School, Franklin Learning Center, Friends Select High School and Middle School, Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts, The University School, Science Leadership Academy, Central High School, Girls High and the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Med.

Demands included free abortion and gender-affirming health care under a Medicare-for-all system; make Roe v. Wade the law; full funding for schools, including nurses and counselors in every school, every day; and comprehensive, inclusive sex education with free confidential STI testing.

The students called for ending attacks on LGBTQ+ rights and for support for queer youth, along with living wages and union rights for all workers.

Workers World Party flyers headlined “We Won’t Go Back!” handed out by this reporter were quickly snatched up.

The protest was part of a national call for student walkouts in response to the threatened SCOTUS ban on abortions. More walkouts are expected.

Betsey Piette

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Betsey Piette

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