August 26th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

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 24th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

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 20th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

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
stoppatriarchy

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.

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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 16th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

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 StopPatriarchy.org 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!

August 7th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

Changing the Terms and De-Mystifying the Abortion Conversation

from Riley, an Abortion Rights Freedom Rider

I have some experience talking about abortion, and I have to say, it’s not that crazy. In fact, it gets a lot easier the more you do it, the more you run up against the same types of arguments, and the more you can recognize that these same ways of thinking, are exactly why we need to get out there with the uncompromising truth.

Yesterday, a group of volunteers went out to do outreach throughout different parts of Austin. I went over to North Congress, near the Governor’s mansion, where there is a mix of young professionals, students, and homeless people.

We went out to build for the People’s Hearing, and to sound the alarm on the abortion rights emergency, and challenge people to confront the reality that women are facing today, to understand the fact that this is about women’s liberation or women’s enslavement, and to get involved with a movement out to stop these attacks and defeat this war on women.

People have not heard anyone use the word abortion, in this light, in a really long time. And so we get all kinds of reactions when we go out like this.

One common thing I hear, and heard a lot yesterday, is people wanting to immediately talk about late term abortion; they ask us at what point we think there should be a cut off to abortion access. My response: At what point does a woman become an incubator? At what point does her life not matter? This whole focus on late term abortion is dishonest – not only do most abortions happen in the first trimester, but later abortions mainly happen because of lack of access or health problems that develop later. This whole framework eliminates the woman, the living, breathing, and conscious person with dreams, desires, and a social existence, from the equation entirely.

Another common response, ‘well there are consequences to everything, if a woman isn’t using protection, or if a woman has sex in general, she has to deal with the consequences’, she has to be ready to have a baby. My response: a baby should never be a consequence. Being ready to have sex is just not the same thing as being ready for a child. A woman should never be morally ‘obligated’ to carry a pregnancy to term. Forcing a woman to have a child against her will is a form of enslavement, it is forcible control over a women’s body, over her whole life, and there is nothing MORAL about that.

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August 7th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

Back at the Federal Courthouse in Austin, supporting the heroic doctors who are standing up for women’s lives! Abortion Providers are Heroes! The banner we brought out today traveled throughout the country last year on the first Abortion Rights Freedom ride and was signed by hundreds of people who support this right.

August 7th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

A Morality Based on Reality: I’m Counting on YOU to End the Attacks on Abortion Rights

from Alexandria Petersburg, on the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride

A heroic doctor, who has been providing abortions for 40 years in Texas in the face of death threats and legal attacks, recently welcomed the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride into his clinic.  I want to share some of his stories with you, along with some reflections on morality.

This doctor told us his youngest patient was 9 years old and did not have any idea of what sex is, or what had happened to her.  She was molested by her father, and she was pregnant, and needed an abortion.  He said many more of his patients have been 11, 12, and 13 years old, and their pregnancies are - not always, but often - a result of abuse.  He also told us that in the group of protestors that regularly harass women outside his clinic, there is a woman who, whenever she gets a chance, runs inside the clinic, up the stairs, and through the waiting room, screaming, “DON’T KILL YOUR BABY!” and then runs out again and brags to her anti-abortion friends.  

Now put these things together with me.  

How is it that that side of this debate, the same side pushing through law after law restricting abortion, has gotten away with the claim that they are doing it “for the children?” How is the 9-year-old girl in the clinic in Texas supposed to feel?  These are real people.  These are not potential people, like fetuses are.  These are female children, who are being terrorized while their lives are being determined for them, on top of the mountain of abuses, such as rape and incest, being inflicted on them just for being born female.  Let me be clear: I do not hold the view that abortion should only be available in certain circumstances such as rape and incest, but I feel strongly that everyone should know, the movement to abolish abortion - with the government backing them up with court rulings and legislation like HB2 in Texas - that movement is out to abolish all abortion. So I ask you, with all the future generations of women and girls in mind: which side is the moral side? Which side should be brimming over with righteous outrage?

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July 31st, 2014
stoppatriarchy

Stop Patriarchy protest at Harris County Republican Party Headquarters in Houston, TX. 
First protest of Abortion Rights Freedom Ride 2014: Ground Zero Texas.
Protests every Thursday!!!
http://www.stoppatriarchy.org/protests.html

July 31st, 2014
stoppatriarchy

First photo-set from the official launch of the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, and the very first People’s Hearing in Houston, TX.

Volunteers read incredibly moving testimony from abortion providers on the front lines, from a young woman who experienced brutal violence for daring to walk down the street alone, from a women who watched a loved one die before her eyes from a botched illegal abortion, from a courageous clinic escort who volunteers at the last clinic in MS, from a young woman from Houston who fears becoming pregnant due to the inaccessibility of abortion in her state, from women who experienced having an abortion after it was legalized, and felt nothing but relief. We also heard from two women, who had just recently heard about the ride, who were inspired to share their stories of abortion and the overall experience of being a woman in society, on the spot, one told through a powerful performance piece. 

This is a model, which people all over the country can and must take up, as a part of building up a movement which is breaking the silence, shattering the stigma, changing the terms, bringing out the fact that women’s lives are at stake, and that without a fierce struggle to change the trajectory of this assault on abortion rights, women’s lives and futures will be foreclosed. 

This first People’s Testimony was live broadcasted on StopPatriarchy.org and is posted on the front of our website for others to watch who were unable to tune in live. They will be broadcast LIVE every Wednesday at 7pm CST, in Austin, San Antonio, and Brownsville. Come in person if you can, and if not be sure to bring people together and tune in!

July 27th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

"We have to fight. We have to protest."

Meet Jay at his church in Houston, TX.  He tells of his great aunt’s death from a coat hanger abortion, and why he believe we have to fight back against the attacks on abortion now.  Jay donated $10 to the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride today.  Will you match his donation today, to fund mass resistance from “Ground Zero” of the battle for women’s freedom?

July 26th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

For Women’s Lives and Against McCarthyism: A Response to “United Statement in Opposition to Stop Patriarchy”

As members of the Advisory Board of the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride 2014: Ground Zero Texas, we strongly reject the recent ad-hominem and McCarthyite attacks and accusations leveled at the Ride and at Stop Patriarchy as unfounded and untrue. We appreciate the comments of clinic owner Diane Derzis, owner of Jackson Women’s Health in Mississippi, as quoted in the Dallas Observer:

“‘We became far too reliant upon courts to maintain the status quo, while our enemy is in the trenches with these churches raising money, raising time, electing people. Am I a communist? Absolutely not. Do I care whether someone else is? No.’ She adds: ‘I think it’s time starting thinking outside the box, because what we’ve been doing has not been working.’”

The reasons and goals for the Ride are clearly spelled out on StopPatriarchy.org and we stand by them. Reproductive rights in this country are under increasing attack and fast disappearing, leaving thousands of women and girls without access to reproductive care.

With so much on the line and the responsibility of ensuring reproductive justice for women in this country, we believe diverse ways of fighting back are necessary. Many people and groups are doing important work to address the current emergency and we applaud them. We invite anyone to join the Ride in person, or to support it in the various ways described on the website. All points of view and affiliations are welcome, no loyalty oaths are required, the only requirement is a commitment to reproductive justice!

Signed by members of the Advisory Board, Abortion Rights Freedom Ride 2014: Ground Zero Texas:

Diane Derzis, Owner of Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the last abortion clinic in Mississippi

Carol Downer, Co-Founder of the Feminist Women’s Health Center which began doing abortions in 1971

Merle Hoffman, CEO of Choices Women’s Medical Center which began doing abortions in 1971

Wendy Robinson, Director, Voice of Choice

Mary Lou Singleton, licensed midwife and nurse practitioner, Founder, Personhood for Women

Sunsara Taylor, Revolution newspaper, Stop Patriarchy, fighter for abortion rights since 1995

Note: To learn about the actual track record and achievements of the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride in the past, click here. To read “A Response to Recent Attacks and Invitation to All from the Advisory Board of the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride 2014: Ground Zero Texas,” click here.

July 22nd, 2014
stoppatriarchy

From a Texas Woman: Off the Sidelines… Because I Do Not Like to Be Controlled

Watching the filibuster of the Texas legislature, and the subsequent outpouring of dissent last summer, I felt a number of emotions. Shock that this was actually happening. Excited that Texas women were standing up for our rights. And jealousy that I wasn’t there with them! I was hopeful that this was a tide that was turning. That society was shifting in a way that was favorable towards women’s rights, specifically, the right to a safe and accessible abortion.

I was wrong.

More and more TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws are being passed around the country. Texas is the latest example of how the legislatures can use the courts to ban abortions. But Texas must also be an example of how to create visible resistance to any restrictions to women’s liberation.

Part of the jealousy that I talked about earlier was due to the fact that I was sitting on the sidelines, living life, not getting involved with political matters. I think a lot of people do that and it’s understandable. As women, we have jobs and families that keep us occupied. But in my opinion, banning abortion is one of the tools that reactionary forces in our society are using to control women, keeping us subjugated. And I do not like to be controlled.

That is why I am supporting the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride as it makes its way through Texas. If the courts, reactionary politicians, and misinformation are allowed to reduce the number of abortion clinics in Texas to 6, in a state with 26 million people, and I did nothing, then I would be beyond jealous. I’d be pissed.

July 21st, 2014
stoppatriarchy

Report from Austin: You are Not Alone, and You are Needed Now More Than Ever

The Abortion Rights Freedom Ride has hit the streets of Austin, in preparation for a raucous and revealing month of resistance against the attacks on abortion. We have been talking to many people - on street corners, in theater lines, at student unions, and outdoor markets - about women, abortion, society, and the role we all can play in making history right now.

Of those who know that dozens of abortion clinics are being shut down in Texas, many are surprised to hear that this is happening all across the country: 6 states have only one abortion clinic left, and hundreds of restrictions have come down on abortion in the last three years!

To talk about abortion on a street corner or public place has been a startling thing for many people on both sides of the issue! Some people, when we ask their opinion, say, “Isn’t that a personal question?” or “Isn’t that a very touchy subject?” Some, when we ask as they pass if they know there will be only 6 abortion clinics left in all of Texas by September, stop in their tracks and come back, saying, “Really? Only six?” Part of the effects of seeing abortion as a personal or private topic, is that many people just don’t know that right now, women in southern Texas are living in conditions like the 1950s - they are attempting to self-induce through dangerous methods, or being forced to bear unwanted children. Consider this story:

One pair of women approach. One of them stops and angrily argues with one of our volunteers about how “irresponsible” and “slutty” these young girls are who just have sex, and don’t want to deal with “the consequences.” The other stands quietly and listens. The volunteer explains that there isn’t anything wrong with women having sex, and nobody should be forced into motherhood as some kind of punishment. I wonder what the silent woman is thinking, so I quietly ask her, and she says, “Women have absolutely got to have the right to decide if they’re ready to be mothers or not.” I tell her, “If they don’t, it’s like society telling them they’re just breeders, not even human.” She nods. We talk for a little while about recent Supreme Court rulings, and all the clinic closures, and where that leaves women, and then I say, “It’s really important that people like you, who have a sense of what this is going to mean for women, be part of fighting it for real. You won’t be alone.” She smiles and signs a contact list, digs around for some money and makes a donation. I tell her I am looking forward to seeing her again, and fighting by her side for what is right. Soon her friend, still shouting and gesticulating up till that point, stops frozen and stares, her jaw literally drops, at her friend signing up to be a Freedom Rider for women’s lives, and donating her money. They leave together, in intense discussion with each other: “I never knew you thought that way… But what about…”

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It is striking that the anti-abortion friend was loudly throwing her opinion around, and speaking with such certitude and conviction, while the pro-choice friend who had a strong conviction as well, didn’t voice it at first, and not without prompting. Then they left together engaging each other in a level of conversation about this most crucial question - about the direction of society for half of humanity - that it was clear they had never had before. What’s more, this was not an isolated incident. This same phenomenon between friends and family has happened several times already through our conversations in the few days we have been in Austin.

Imagine this on a mass scale! Imagine all this opening up, where friends and family members laid their arguments out, deeply explored their differences and where their opinions come from and lead to, and more and more people confronted what the criminalizing of pregnancy and the robbing of abortion access actually meant for women.

Imagine if the women who had abortions felt like they could tell their daughters or their parents, emboldening them to speak out too. Imagine if the mostly silent majority of pro-choice people talked to their friends, shattered the stigma, and fought the vicious attacks that right now are taking women back in time to desperate days of stifling subordination.


A few more voices from Austin for now, and many more to come:

A teenage woman in line at a theater: “My mom got an abortion when she was seventeen. She wasn’t ready to have a child. She was not financially stable, she had no support system… I am personally so grateful she had the right to get an abortion. Right now she is a helpful, caring mother of three children, and she loves us so much! Access to abortion gives us power, gives us career options, gives us options.”

A young man on Congress and 6th: “I support women getting abortions if they want to because it’s 20 fucking 14, and quite frankly, a woman is a human being. Every bit as important, every bit as legitimate, and every bit as powerful and respectable as a man.” When asked about the anti-abortion movement, he said, “Whenever your entire point is to take the class divisions, this sex- gender orientation or racial divisions, and broaden the gaps as far as you can in hopes that it will never be closed again, it’s a disaster. It’s just pathetic.”

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The father of a young woman who made a sign for the filibuster against the anti-abortion HB2 legislation in Texas in 2013 that went viral, and his family experienced a misogynist backlash, but also inspired many others to stand up for this basic right. Hear him tell his story and speak to the importance of abortion rights to women’s freedom and humanity. 

Abortion rights are in a state of emergency, and it’s time to get loud about it! If you are in Texas, in the south, or anywhere else, and you are pro-choice, or you have had an abortion, you may feel isolated. You may feel alone. You may feel like the confidence and certitude of the anti-abortion voice pushes you to the margins. You have to know: you are NOT alone. And what’s more than that, you are needed now, more than ever! You are urgently needed to stand up and speak out for the sake of future generations of women who do not deserve to live in a society where these formative truths are stifled and only told in whispers, where their lives are determined for them, and where being born a woman is a condemnation to sex-shaming and state-mandated child-bearing.

It is liberating and it is also urgently needed - if you do not want abortion to be illegal or impossible - that you refuse to be drowned out or silenced. JOIN these voices from Austin and the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride: GROUND ZERO TEXAS today and through the month of August, and for as long as it takes, in whatever capacity you can.

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@StopPatriarchy

End Pornography & Patriarchy: the Enslavement and Degradation of Women www.StopPatriarchy.org