August 27th, 2014

TODAY at UT Austin, 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. 

There were many different reactions, both positive and negative. A few cars nearly hit some of the protesters, frustrated by not being able to get to lunch, or to work on time, etc. Yes, some people were inconvenienced today, but this is so much bigger than the day to day grind.

As we await the result of HB2 in Texas, it is still the case that most people do not even know that this law is 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. 

It is long past time that students, not only understand what’s going on nationally with this abortion rights emergency, but actually understand the implications of this, to half of humanity, and fight back. It is long past time that this complacency be challenged, that these lowered sights be raised, and that students throw in on this fight. 

Today, students were confronted with the reality of what it means when abortion is illegal or inaccessible. The question that poses itself in a moment like this: What will your life be about? What will your college career be about? Throughout history, students have always played a major role in movements against injustice. That needs to be the case today, in this abortion rights emergency.

Every single student, who does not want to see women forced to bear children against their will, who does not want to see women dying from self-inducing abortions due to inaccessibility, who does not want to see women’s rights be slammed back, and this backwards view of women be codified into law, needs to act NOW. It is not too late, we have not lost this battle. This is one of those moments in history where what we do really matters, and could have society wide impact. 


August 27th, 2014
I stand with the brave 11 Freedom Fighters for women’s reproductive rights who were arrested outside of Governor Rick Perry’s mansion on August 13th for protesting the closure of all but six abortion clinics in the state of Texas. Legislation that limits access to sensitive healthcare, specifically safe and legal abortion, is a form of serious violence against women. We must raise our voices, fill the streets, make art, to defend doctors and assist women, to change hearts, enlighten minds and resist this oppression throughout this Week of Defiance.
–Eve Ensler
August 27th, 2014

Day 2 of the Week of Defiance, reaching out the students at UT Austin and then back in front of Rick Perry’s mansion. We held a speak-out where we read aloud the messages sent in from people from all over the country. Dozens of stories have been gathered so far, both on the ground here in Austin, and sent in from New Mexico, New York, Oakland, Canada, and beyond.  

We ended the rally, going around the group, speaking bitterness. A few women who were new to come forward in this fight, each spoke to their experiences of walking through this world, being treated as less than human, in all shorts of ways. An older black woman spoke about being the scapegoat of her family, discriminated against and abused for her disability, brutally beaten by police for no reason, and her experience having a coat-hanger abortion. Another woman, a young student, spoke about her frustrations with the complicity of her friends, coworkers, and her generation as a whole; not taking these attacks on abortion rights, seriously. Another woman, spoke about her children; her daughter who at age 9 is already being objectified by older students in her school, and her 8 year old son who is learning how to respect women as human beings, and is already being bullied for this. 

The people who have come forward for this week of defiance, represent masses of people who have these stories, who are sick and tired of this society which takes the oppression of women as a given, and whose anger needs to be unleashed to stop this war on women.

August 26th, 2014

Add your pro-woman message to Rick Perry

Reproductive freedom is a basic human right, like freedom of speech. It affects everything in a woman’s life, whether she is healthy or not, in school or not, in the labor force or not, and how long she lives. In opposing reproductive freedom, Rick Perry has become a dictator endangering women’s lives. He should be impeached.
-Gloria Steinem

Check out the messages being sent in from across the country and read out loud at Rick Perry’s mansion during the Week of Defiance, and add your own!

You must feel very powerless and small if you are willing to take such a stand against women. It’s really stupid and cruel, and only makes you smaller.
-Alice from Oakland, CA

Pro choice is still Pro life.
Women need access to SAFE abortions.

-Hailey from Austin, TX

August 25th, 2014

Day 1 of the Week of Defiance in Austin, TX. We came together in front of Rick Perry’s mansion at 4pm and assembled our installation of the images of women who died from illegal abortions, along with coat hangers with messages from people all over the country who do not want to see women slammed back. 

This installation needs to grow daily, because it is the case that most people in this country do not want to see women forced to bear children against their will, and so we need these stories to pour forward, so others know they are not alone, so we can break the silence, shatter the stigma, and so that we can build up the strength to stop these attacks and defeat this war on women. 

August 25th, 2014

Tweet Your Abortion Rights Message to Rick Perry – Use @GovernorPerry and #StopForcedMotherhood

Tweet Your Abortion Rights Message to Rick Perry – Use @GovernorPerry and #StopForcedMotherhood
We will write it on a coat-hanger and display it outside Rick Perry’s mansion.

On September 1st, Texas is on track to close all but six abortion clinics – part of the most dramatic clinic closures to hit a single state since Roe v. Wade. Many women will be forced to have children against their will or to risk their lives to terminate a pregnancy on their own. This will also be a major leap backwards in the nation-wide emergency facing abortion rights. This MUST be resisted!

Every day thru Sept 1st, the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride will protest at Rick Perry’s mansion from 4 – 6pm Central Standard Time.

Tweet your message about abortion rights to Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) using the hashtag #StopForcedMotherhood and we will write your message on a coathanger and display it in front of his mansion. Be part of making sure that every day the pile of coat-hangers grows, representing the outrage and opposition of people throughout the country and around the world.

Also: follow and retweet @StopPatriarchy throughout the week to spread this campaign.

August 24th, 2014

Reflections on Las Colonias, Rio Grande Valley - from an Abortion Rights Freedom Rider

Brownsville, August 22, 2014   Before the Brownsville crew split and went our separate ways, we had time to reflect on our experiences and speak about the week as a whole. What kept coming up was how much a positive impact the crew has made and how this seems to be just the beginning of a conversation between the people in the Rio Grande Valley and Stop Patriarchy. To clarify by positive impact, in no way did we mean it to be a display of charity, to say “look at what we’ve done”, but really this overall feeling that people were grateful for speaking with them about the abortion rights emergency and linking it to the overall feeling of repression and oppression felt in the Rio Grande Valley.  

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August 22nd, 2014

Emergency in Texas! Stand up for the Week of Defiance August 25th-September 1st! Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!

Converge daily at the Gov. Rick Perry’s mansion 4-6pm at 101 Colorado St in Austin, TX.  Bring your body, your art, your voice, your friends, and your determination to reshape the future.  Around the country: go in public and represent for abortion on demand and without apology. Send your messages, art, and donations down to Texas.

August 20th, 2014

On September 1st, the state of Texas is on track to close all but six abortion clinics (there were 46 in 2011). Women will be forced to have children against their will. Others will be driven to risk – or lose – their lives through dangerous illegal abortions.This is a critical turning point in a nation-wide emergency.

Now is the time for resistance, for refusing to back down in the face of injustice. Now is the time to defend women’s lives and women’s rights. Abortion on Demand and Without Apology.

Come to Texas. Take a stand.

If not now, when?

August 20th, 2014

"Anybody on the side of women’s lives has to put everything on the line"

from Nova Tiller, an Abortion Rights Freedom Rider


I am a Freedom Rider for women’s lives and have been a part of the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride 2014: Ground Zero Texas since the beginning of August. We came to Texas from all over the country because it really does concentrate a lot in the battle over abortion rights. Governor Perry himself once said it was his mission to, “make abortion a thing of the past.” Think about what that means.

When abortion is illegal, thousands of women die. Millions of women will be forced to give birth against their will. They will be property of the state for the period of their pregnancy. At any point, her biology could foreclose her humanity. Her very dreams will be shaped by that looming status, from the moment she is born female.

I was born in 1995, so I don’t have personal memories of a pre-Roe society, but I know enough after living through the murder of eight abortion providers, after witnessing the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar as she was persistently denied an abortion in Ireland, to know that anybody on the side of women’s lives has to put everything on the line to ensure we don’t “go back.”

I was arrested at Texas Governor Rick Perry’s mansion on Wednesday. We took over the busy intersection, blocking traffic, disrupting business as usual. I was arrested with 10 other Abortion Rights Freedom Riders.
Eight of us were wearing all black, holding the faces of women who died from illegal abortion with bloody coat hangers, the weapons that killed them. Three of us, dressed in white, held a message of the future we’re fighting for: “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!” a future where no woman is forced to hurdle barriers to access, confront dangerous alternatives, or be forced to give birth against her will; a future where no woman is made to feel guilty for getting an abortion.

“We stand for millions” has a whole different meaning for me now.
When I encounter those words, I am reminded of the courage shining in the eyes of the brave bystanders who shared their water; I am caught fixated on the memory of the young woman who thanked me through her tears; I am inspired by the thought of others like them—-folks who have been waiting. We all put our bodies on the front lines that day. We all put our lives on the line. I put my life on the line because when it comes to the fight over abortion rights, women’s lives are on the line. If we lie down and lose, we’re conceding the future of every child born female to a world where she has no rights to her body, life, or dreams.

August 20th, 2014

Report from Brownsville: “The more people I spoke to the more confident I became”

It was incredible to see that with a little bit of elbow grease, courage, like that young women we had met earlier that day, and some fucking truth people became emboldened and wanted to act.

Notes from an Abortion Rights Freedom Rider, Rio Grande

Monday, August 18, Rio Grande. Before heading to Brownsville I confided in a fellow freedom rider that I was nervous about going down with such a small crew and my lack of experience. I told her I was nervous about speaking to people about abortion and really taking initiative down in Brownsville. Her response is something that I think speaks volumes about the richness of today’s outreach; she said to me that one, everything was going to work out and not to worry, and two, and more importantly, that talking about abortion is easy or at least gets easier in time. Another freedom rider echoed this sentiment by emphasizing the strength in our varying degrees of experience and knowledge and that bolstered my confidence.

Under some awesome leadership, our crew set up camp in a stall at a weekly flea market in Brownsville. After setting up our table with flyers, pins, and stickers, and quite ironically hung up the “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology” sign with coat hangers, we got to talking with the folks passing by. At first I was shaky and watched as other freedom riders spoke to people, attentive to their confidence and the language they used to illustrate how serious this abortion rights emergency is. We would stop to chat and ask each other about how people were responding and what we could say to strengthen our responses.   

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August 18th, 2014

Brownsville, Day One

From an Abortion Rights Freedom Rider

First day in Brownsville we headed over to a local flea market. The response was very mixed, some people were really into what we were doing and others of course were not so pleased. Right off the bat, we had a group of 4 girls that loved what stop patriarchy was about.


They did not realize the state of emergency that abortion rights are in at this moment and how we are moving back in time. They decided to take this into their own hands and took a ton of flyers to hand out throughout the flea market. They were able to understand first hand what we are facing in this country surrounding abortion. The huge stigma and shame that follows it. There were plenty of pro-life religious folk there that could not grasp the fact that when abortion is illegal women die. What was the most interesting was that these pro-lifers were not really into talking about it at all. Versus other anti’s we have faced in the past. The only argument they really were giving was well it’s my opinion I have the right to my opinion. This is something that you can’t have an opinion on, women are already self inducing, around the world women are still dying from illegal abortions, and women are still shamed and forced into mother hood. So many people are blinded by their religions and what society has put out around abortion rights. We are changing that, we need to turn the tide, change the terms rise up thousands and soon millions.

August 17th, 2014

We were acting for millions…

-from Riley Ruiz, an Abortion Rights Freedom Rider


On August 13th, 2014, I along with ten other Abortion Rights Freedom Riders, got arrested for engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience, blocking traffic, in front of Rick Perry’s mansion.

As we walked across the street and took our positions, I thought about all the women who have died, all the women forced into motherhood, all the women shamed for having abortions, all the women kept silent. I remembered the story of a woman from San Antonio, who was raped, and forced to bear a child against her will, then forced into prostitution to survive, suffering for 35 years. I remembered the story of a woman who traveled to Europe alone, and was raped, became pregnant, and considered suicide as a reasonable way out. These stories were just some of the many that were told at our People’s Hearings; they represent the huge stakes in this fight over whether half of humanity will be free to determine their own futures, and they will stay with me forever.

As cars began to pile up, and people on the sidewalk gathered and filmed, I felt more and more emboldened. The cars began honking, and we chanted louder. People came out of their cars shouting at us, one car nearly hit one of us, but we were not deterred. We stood strong for nearly 10 minutes. Many people watching from the sidelines were in awe, and some were moved to tears. People participated in all kinds of ways, giving us water as we sizzled on the hot pavement, talking to and filming the police to make sure they didn’t get totally out of line, and doing interviews responding to the action. It was so compelling, what we did, that people stayed and watched the entire thing unfold, until every single one of us was put into the police trucks.

When the cops gave us a countdown before they began their arrests, not one of us flinched. It took them quite a while to cuff all of us, and all the while we did mic checks, talking about the dark ages agenda that Rick Perry is fighting for, the fact that if HB2 holds it will result in the foreclosure of women’s lives as well as women dying from self induced abortions, and chanted things like “1, 2, 3, 4 Abortion is worth fighting for! 5, 6, 7, 8 Women’s lives are what’s at stake!” and, “Come on, come on and join the fight! Abortion is a basic right!” Our voices were giving out, the pavement was searing hot, and the police dragged us away one by one, but there was NEVER a moment where we lost our energy and determination. We were charged the entire time, knowing we were acting for millions.

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August 16th, 2014

Urgently Needed: A Week of Defiance to Stop the Attacks on Abortion Rights

A call to action from the 11 Freedom Riders arrested outside Rick Perry’s mansion on August 13, 2014

The attacks on abortion rights have been relentless in recent years: dozens of forced clinic closures, hundreds of restrictions on abortion, flagrantly misogynist court rulings, acts of terrorism and intimidation against doctors, and all in the name of “life” and “religious freedom.”  This has meant thousands of women turned out and put down, dreams extinguished, futures foreclosed, and lives lost.  Millions have been lied to about abortion, and millions more trained and taught to apologize for abortion as a “necessary evil.”

It is time to put an end to the madness.  This is a question of whether women will be free, or whether they will be enslaved to a vicious patriarchal system that is hell bent on reproductive control, and sees women as nothing but sperm receptacles and baby-making machines.  This is a question of whether or not young girls will dare to dream of themselves as leaders, thinkers, fighters, and frankly, full human beings.  It is time to tell the truth about abortion, and to defy the powers that seek to enslave women: forced motherhood is female enslavement.

Read the whole letter here

Join in a Week of Defiance August 25 - September 1.  Join us in Austin (location TBA August 18), or claim your own space wherever you live:

  • Send a message or a story to Rick Perry and others like him - to be put on coat hangers and strung up in parks nationwide, and read aloud at protests
  • Bring your art, poems, and songs of resistance against the oppression of women
  • Lead or attend workshops on science, sex ed, history, abortion, and women’s liberation
  • Stage or attend speak-outs where abortion stories are told unapologetically
  • Invite everyone you know
  • Bring or send money, food and water, to Austin (location TBA 8/18), or anywhere that people are standing up in this way, to keep this going all week
  • Listen to the “People’s Hearings” with others who are determined to understand better what it means for real women when abortion is illegal, and why abortion rights are worth fighting for
  • March daily at 6pm wherever you are, with pictures of women’s faces, and strings of women’s stories on coat hangers, to the Governor’s mansion, or any institution that is spearheading the attacks on abortion
  • On September 1st, when all but 6 abortion clinics in Texas are set to close, join in civil disobedience wherever you are to send a clear message that you refuse to accept the future that patriarchy has in store for women

Contact today with your ideas and your intentions.  We will have your back no matter where you are.  If you have already reached out, expect a call from us this week.  We know this system has never gifted oppressed people with liberation, and you are urgently needed to be part of the kind of mass movement that is the only way that the course of history has ever changed.

Forced Motherhood is Female Enslavement.
Abortion on Demand & Without Apology!

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End Pornography & Patriarchy: the Enslavement and Degradation of Women