August 29th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

No One Has to Ask Permission to Fight For Women’s Liberation - A response to Katie Klabusich’s attack on Stop Patriarchy in Bitch Magazine

by Carol Downer 

The headline, “In Texas, Activist Group ‘Stop Patriarchy” Draws Criticism’ and the first two paragraphs might first appear like an objective report; however, your blog, reprinted in Bitch is not a report, but a trash job. Come clean, Katie Klabusich, Texans for Reproductive Justice is you and your buddies in an ad hoc group formed for the sole purpose of opposing Stop Patriarchy and their mission to come to Texas, protest the TRAP laws that are closing down Texas clinics and their goal of linking this to the nationwide emergency facing abortion rights.

I’m on the advisory board of Stop Patriarchy and I went on the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride for one week.

So, you have not given me or anyone else one good reason not to support Stop Patriarchy. Your criticisms are baseless; if anything, they are reasons to support Stop Patriarchy. 

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August 27th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

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 25th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

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
stoppatriarchy

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 22nd, 2014
stoppatriarchy

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.

http://www.stoppatriarchy.org/week-of-defiance.html

August 20th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

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?

http://www.stoppatriarchy.org/week-of-defiance.html

August 20th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

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

from Nova Tiller, an Abortion Rights Freedom Rider

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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 17th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

We were acting for millions…

-from Riley Ruiz, an Abortion Rights Freedom Rider

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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
stoppatriarchy

On August 13th, the Abortion Rights Freedom Riders took the resistance to a whole other level. 11 people were arrested, for putting our bodies on the line, committing a civil disobedience in front of Gov. Rick Perry’s mansion, because women’s lives and futures are at stake in this abortion rights emergency and we REFUSE to sit by as women are slammed back. 
Stop Patriarchy firmly holds that people everywhere can and need to step up. 
We are determined to fight this through. We were brutally arrested, and in jail we were separated and harassed, but we will NOT be cowed. 
August 25-September 1st we are calling for a national week of defiance. This week needs to model the kind of uncompromising resistance it is going to take to defeat this assault on women’s lives. Things like what we did a few days ago, and much more. 

August 16th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

Scientific Sex Ed

While talking to people in front of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas a man started yelling at us from across the street, “Close your legs! Close your legs! Close your legs!” …..this is not the first time we have heard this sentiment, and these kind of comments. Across the country, from NYC, to Wichita, and now in Texas, we’ve heard this kind of argument against abortion. Things like “Women gotta be ready to have the baby every time they have sex” or “If you make a mistake, if you have sex, you have to suffer the consequences!”

FUCK all that. What kind of logic denies women their full humanity through shaming their sexuality? What kind of morality is it that wants women to not have sex, unless procreation is involved? This idea that women should not have the right to any kind of sexuality or sexual pleasure outside of their usefulness to breeding children is an outdated and backwards notion.  This outlook rests on thousands of years of patriarchy, and the continuation of that- right down to today.

First off, look at the world we live in, and let’s get real about how sex happens! We are immersed in a culture that is deeply influenced by mainstream and degrading pornography, a culture where even if women are not outright raped, they are often persuaded, coerced, or peer pressured into having sex before they feel ready. And it’s not only abortion rights that have been under attack, it’s also scientific sex education, so young people that are curious about sex are turning to Internet porn to learn about sex…which has very very little to do with women freely exploring their sexuality, and much to do with how women are humiliated, degraded, and subordinated by the men in porn. So women get extremely contradictory messages about how to behave. You either are the virgin, or a whore, and many times women are expected to be both.

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August 16th, 2014
stoppatriarchy
August 12th, 2014
stoppatriarchy
August 7th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

First photo-set of today’s protest at Rick Perry’s mansion. We stood outside the governor’s mansion, 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 governor’s woman-hating agenda, which will drive women back to the dark ages. 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.There is nothing legitimate about his position on abortion, and unless the people rise up, he will get away with driving women backwards, to the days of illegal abortion, where an estimated 5,000 women died every year from botched illegal abortions. 

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.

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@StopPatriarchy

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