Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!
Forced Motherhood is Female Enslavement!
Abortion Providers are Heroes!
The Abortion Rights Freedom Ride: GROUND ZERO TEXAS drew in Texans and people from both coasts, the midwest, and the south, to boldly "deliver the verdict" from the People's Hearings (when abortion is illegal, women die) and confront the institutions that were spearheading the attacks on abortion rights. We wielded coathangers, chains, and photos of the faces of women who have died from illegal abortions, an indictment of the future that these institutions are working toward: one where women are risking their lives to self-induce abortions, or are forced into motherhood against their will [see below for more on the significance of the coathanger, and to read the stories of the women whose faces we held]. All this culminated in a national WEEK OF DEFIANCE for abortion on demand and without apology, acts of civil disobedience, and righteous resistance.
HOUSTON: HARRIS COUNTY REPUBLICANS
July 31, 2014
People from Houston came together with others from across the country to protest and defiantly pledge to resist, at the political "birthplace" of some of the worst anti-abortion politicians in Texas.
AUSTIN: FEDERAL COURTHOUSE
August 4, 2014
The anti-abortion legislation HB2, passed in Texas in 2013, banned abortion at 20 weeks, greatly restricted legal use of the abortion pill, and mandated two medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion clinics with the sole purpose of shutting them down: "hospital admitting privileges" and "ambulatory surgical center" requirements. By August 2014 all of these were in effect except the ASC requirements. Whole Women's Health, along with other heroic abortion providers and advocates, brought a challenge to this section of HB2 to prevent the closure of dozens of clinics and the disaster that would mean for women. August 4 at the Austin Federal Courthouse was the first day of these hearings, and hundreds of anti-abortion forces gathered to "pray to end abortion." Stop Patriarchy disrupted their rally, challenged their dark ages shamefest, and returned to the courthouse every day of the hearings, to support the providers, oppose HB2, and reach out to those passing by to join this fight.
AUSTIN: GOV RICK PERRY'S MANSION
August 8, 2014
Texas Governor Rick Perry signed the anti-abortion bill HB2 into law, and has callously stated, "My goal is to make abortion, at any stage, a thing of the past." So we went to his house, with locals who we had met while doing outreach in different neighborhoods, and some who were compelled to take part on the spot, to oppose this whole woman-hating agenda. We shared stories of women who died from illegal abortion, stories of women who today, face the shame and stigma that is heaped on women for obtaining this most fundamental right, and stories of women who were forced to have children against their will.
SAN ANTONIO: SAN FERNANDO CATHEDRAL
August 14, 2014
Countless women have suffered and been forced into oppressive, life-draining situations because of the Catholic Church’s thoroughly wrong and sadistically lethal belief that “life begins at conception." Project Rachel, organized by the Arch Diocese of San Antonio says its aim is “healing the spiritual and emotional wounds of abortion" (translation: guilt-tripping and shaming women). The day after 11 Freedom Riders were arrested outside Governor Perry's house (below), we reconvened in San Antonio to confront and condemn the abusive, deceptive, and patriarchal program of this church. We were met with counter-protesters that reveal the true nature of the anti-abortion movement: rabid in their outrage that women would dare to be independent, and intent on seeing women slammed backward into a literal Biblical role of domestic servitude to men.
AUSTIN: GOV RICK PERRY'S MANSION
August 13, 2014
"Women are not incubators. This was our message to the world as we marched out across 11th Street on August 13, holding the pictures of women who have died from illegal abortions, and pointing coat hangers at Perry's mansion... When it comes to abortion, there is only one moral question: Will women be forced to have children against their will or will they be treated as full human beings which means being able to decide for themselves when and whether to be a mother? So we stood there, uncompromising, we blocked traffic, and we were arrested. A crowd gathered and many people contributed in very positive ways! When the police dragged us off, they lifted a teenager by her nose, suffocating her and causing tears to stream down her face..."
AUSTIN: UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS
August 27, 2014
"Throughout the Week of Defiance and as we awaited the result of HB2 in Texas, it was still the case that most people did not even know that this law was scheduled to shut down all but 6 abortion clinics in the state. It is still the case that people think this is just a question of opinion, meanwhile this right is being stripped away, and affecting real women every single day... 5 Abortion Rights Freedom Riders, including intiator of Stop Patriarchy, Sunsara Taylor, were singled out and arrested when they joined with dozens of others in protesting the impending closure of abortion clinics in Texas, on the first official day of classes outside of UT Austin. Thousands of students gathered as the freedom riders blocked traffic for over half an hour. About a dozen people joined in the action on the spot, incredibly inspired by what was happening. Hundreds took videos and photos, and watched on in awe." Read more
Why coat hangers?
The coat hanger is a symbol of terror and enslavement of women. Before abortion was made legal, many women sought illegal abortions or tried aborting the fetus themselves, often using coat hangers to induce bleeding, and often these women died. The coat hanger became a symbol in the battle to win the right to abortion, and is still iconic of what the lack of this right means for women. Before Roe v. Wade, as many as 5,000 or more women died each year from botched illegal abortions. Countless thousands more were injured or traumatized by the humiliating and dangerous experience of back-alley abortions. Even greater numbers of women had their lives foreclosed by being forced to have a child they did not want or could not care for. All women lived with the constant knowledge that this could be their fate.
If you do not want to see women returned to the status of breeders and property of men, if you do not want to see the emergency rooms flooded once again by women hemorrhaging and possibly dying from illegal abortions, if you do not want to see millions of women's lives foreclosed, NOW IS THE TIME TO STEP FORWARD TO FIGHT.
From Emergency in Texas! Join with the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride
by Sunsara Taylor
Dr. Jen Gunter's
Anatomy of a coat hanger abortion
Anatomy of an unsafe abortion
Dr. Jen Gunter is an OB/GYN and author.
Rebecca J. Rosen's
Consider the Coat Hanger
Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic.
The Rise of the DIY Abortion in Texas
Erica Hellerstein is a freelance writer.
Below are the names, faces, and stories of some of the many women who have died from being denied abortion rights and access, as well as signs with statistics on the abortion rights emergency we face. We hope that many others take up this truth, this unapologetic resistance, and this fight, with an urgency that reflects how dire the situation for women has become.