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 27th, 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.

July 20th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

Billy Joe Cain from Austin, TX, talks about his experience standing up for abortion rights at the 2013 filibuster, what the attacks on abortion represent, and why he supports the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride. 

Donate today to make this happen:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ab…

Then join Billy Joe in Austin 8/6 for a “Public Hearing” - where women and men will tell the stories of what happens when abortion is illegal, and deliver the verdict the following day through powerful protest against an all-out assault on women’s lives.

http://www.stoppatriarchy.org/abortio…

July 19th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

A 17-year student writes: Why I Want to Join the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride

"If I got the opportunity to Travel with Abortion Rights Freedom Ride I would be extremely grateful.

If women’s abortion rights were taken women would feel as if they don’t have a voice. As women we have honorable rights to do what we want with our bodies so not being able to turn to abortion when needed, would make one feel as if she has no control over her life. Abortions help women of all ages make an important decision about their life, while also making the woman understand that she is more than just a holder for the fetus. Being a part of something this special will let women know all over the world that they are not alone when it comes to fighting for our rights for abortions.

From second hand experience I know that abortion saves a lot of teens/young adults from feeling as if they cannot succeed in life. No one in life is perfect; nothing is guaranteed one hundred percent effective, and everyone learn from mistakes. I have never been pregnant myself but I have close friends that have. Some of them never had a good role model in their lives to tell them the importance of not getting pregnant at a young age, while others just simply made mistakes. One of my friends stressed herself out so much about her pregnancy, she decided to drop out of school and run away from home because she wanted to save herself from embarrassment. I was extremely sad to hear that my friend whom was such an honorable student, felt as if she had no choice in life because of a simple mistake. Since, my friend was extremely scared to tell her mother and abusive father I encouraged her to talk to a teacher who I felt would provide wise information about an abortion. Weeks later after the abortion, I was ecstatic to see my close friend back at school focused more than ever.

Abortion clinics offer young teens a choice to live again. There are so many teens unable to take care of a child mentally as well as financially. Why should one be forced into motherhood if they know that they are not able provide a stable safe environment for their child? In Texas, I would be happy to fight for what is right, there is nothing worse than feeling alone and held down.”

Everyone: Follow her lead. Help this young woman and other volunteers travel to Texas. DONATE. Come to Texas, send a video or written statement, organize a house party to watch the People’s Hearings, starting July 30. Be part of the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride however you can. 

July 17th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

"Wishing you all much love & determination"

Sharing a message just received from a generous donor:

It is my pleasure to donate & fund a Freedom Rider on this important mission. Go inspire/unite all of the women who need to know they deserve to be treated as full human beings capable of making decisions about their own bodies. Bring the message of another world is possible, free of the crushing oppression of women here & around the world, and they can be a part of bringing that world into fruition.

Wishing you all much love & determination in turning the tide & defeating the war on women

Join her today! 

DONATE $100…$25…even $10 will make a difference. For the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride 2014: Ground Zero Texas.

July 16th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

"No woman should be deprived of that basic human right."

Harold J. Hanes: Founding Artistic Director of the Encore Theatre, Houston, and English professor.

Donate today to the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride: GROUND ZERO TEXAS!

July 16th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

"Women’s ability to control their lives depends on their ability to control their reproductive lives."

Wendy Robinson, new member of the Advisory Board to the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride 2014.
 
July 16th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

Where are you in this picture?

Where are you in this picture?

Are you a female over 50? Chances are you took advantage of both birth control and abortion during your reproductive prime. You know how important it was to have those choices.

Are you a female between the ages of 20-50? Not a month goes by that you don’t think about your need for birth control and your absolute right to decide when and if you plan to have a child.

Are you a young woman under 20? You might not be thinking that much about issues of reproduction but you very likely are thinking about and exploring your sexuality and should be able to do so without the terror of your life being foreclosed for it.

Are you a boy or a man between 4-80? You have daughters, granddaughters, wives, sisters and mothers who deserve to be recognized as full human beings and who deserve the right to make personal, legal and responsible decisions about their own bodies.

Are you a member of this society, one of the 317 million people living in the United States? Access to birth control and abortion is an absolute right; it should never be up for a vote. It should never be subjected to the whims of politicians.

How many people in the chart are affected by the laws, court cases and culture restricting birth control and abortion? Everyone. Everyone represented in the graph has a stake in this fight.

Where are you in this picture? Where are you in the fight?

 BECOME AN ABORTION RIGHTS FREEDOM RIDER TODAY
  • Donate $10 and then tell 3 friends to follow your lead
  • Come to Texas any time July 30 into September
  • Host a viewing party in your home for webcast of People’s Hearings each Wed in August. FIRST WEBCAST - Wed. July 30 7pm Central time - Encore Theater - HOUSTON 
  • Send in testimony to the Hearings of pre-Roe abortion stories or what women have to go through today
  • Spread the word on social media @stoppatriarchy, #StopForcedMotherhood #WeRide4Women
  • Take to the streets during the August WEEK OF DEFIANCE

July 15th, 2014
stoppatriarchy
July 14th, 2014
stoppatriarchy
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@StopPatriarchy

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