September 14th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

On the conviction of Jennifer Whalen: This is not the first time women have been condemned to prison for protecting themselves or their loved ones. THIS MUST STOP NOW!

from Adrienne, member of Stop Patriarchy

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A Stop Patriarchy comrade and I arrived at Columbia County Prison in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania by 9am. We stepped out of the car into the gray, coldness with signs that read “We Support Jennifer Whalen! Assisting someone with an abortion is not a crime!”, “Free Jennifer Whalen”, and, of course, “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!” Jennifer Whalen is a Pennsylvania resident and mother who sought to help her daughter have an abortion. Now, she is serving a 9-18 month sentence.

Her daughter was sixteen and pregnant, and as Whalen’s husband Keith told us outside of the jail, “unable to raise and care for this child.” Jennifer was looking out for the well-being of her daughter. The closest abortion clinic to Whalen is 75 miles away, and abortion is not covered under her insurance. With restrictions on medical abortions, it’s become more and more expensive and difficult to access. Jennifer was only doing what she needed to do, in a society that is making it more and more difficult for abortion to access. Jennifer obtained the medicine necessary, the same medicine provided by clinics for medical abortions, legally, and gave them to her daughter. (It’s important to note that most clinics aid a woman in deciding between the two types of abortion, medical or surgical, she could have. There are examinations provided to see which abortion would be best for the woman’s body. Once it’s determined that a medical abortion is safe, a provider will allow the patient to take one pill in office and another pill the following day at home. This is perfectly safe.) Her daughter did have some complications, so Jennifer took her daughter to the emergency room. For this Jennifer was charged and sentenced for violating a state law that requires abortions to be done by physicians and for distributing medicine without a prescription.

A journalist at the jail told us that the judge was contemplating charging her for manslaughter (for termination a 3 week fetus!!). This law does not exist in a vacuum and must be examined alongside the circumstances created by when access to abortion is restricted! With abortion becoming more and more difficult to access, how can we expect that women will not do whatever it takes to terminate their unwanted pregnancies?

It is totally illegitimate when laws are blindly used to make an example of someone; this case truly highlights how stigmatized abortions have become. Criminalizing abortions will NOT stop women from trying to obtain them. The horrific thing is that this is not the first time women have been condemned to prison for protecting themselves or their loved ones. This must stop now!

We waited for about a half an hour, before a car arrived in front of the jail. Jennifer was set to report to the jail to begin serving her sentence that day. My stomach turned itself into knots as I watched and waited for Jennifer to step out of the car. I couldn’t imagine what it’d be like to know you were going to be away from your children, your family, your friends, your life, and that all of these people knew why. I can’t imagine all of the anger, sadness, and shame she experienced. It’s devastating to know that in order to receive a lesser sentence a person has to internalize the horrors and inconsistencies of the system.

When Jennifer stepped out of the car she walked briskly with her head down. My comrade called out to her and she walked back, standing in the arms of her husband, with her head down and hair in front of her face. My comrade looked at her and told her that what she did was not wrong, and that many, many people support her. “Did you know this?” Jennifer shook her head. Women, especially moms, face a different set of standards; they are blamed and shamed for their children’s behaviors—their daughter’s sexuality, their daughter’s choice in clothing, and the list goes on—but while it’s true that a child’s behavior is not always a reflection of their parent, what’s more important is that ALL of these expectations and complaints are blatant attacks on WOMEN!

Should she have to apologize for being a woman. Hell no! Should she feel sorry for protecting the welfare of her daughter? Hell no! To see her stand in shame was an awful reflection of why criminalizing and stigmatizing abortion does nothing but perpetuate violence against women.

It was gratifying to be out there in support of Jennifer Whalen and to speak to her. Seeing us could have made a slight dent in chipping away the guilt and shame she’s felt. However, this slight dent needs to be strengthened and transformed into a major crack in this whole illegitimate system. We must continue to fight against a patriarchal society that is condemning women for thinking on their own. 

We must fight illegitimate laws, change the way people think about abortion and act on what they know to be true. Standing in support of prisoners is important. Standing in opposition to a law is important. Protesting is important! Making your voice heard is important. I encourage people out there who see this as an injustice to flood the court and/or jail with letters of support of Jennifer Whalen. Write to her yourself* and tell her of your support. There is a need for an outpouring of support. We need all kinds of people to get involved on this front. Now is the time.

* Send your message of support for Jennifer Whalen to stoppatriarchy@gmail.com and we will send them to her husband, Keith Whalen, to send to Jennifer.

August 27th, 2013
stoppatriarchy

David Gunn, Jr.: “I use the truth as my guiding principle and strategy…”


David Gunn, Jr. is the son of David Gunn, Sr., the first abortion doctor to be assassinated by an anti-abortion gunman. He blogs for Abortion.ws and is a signer of the statement Abortion on Demand & Without Apology and an organizer of the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride.

 

I was recently asked the following question by a friend and fellow activist. I shared my answer to the question with Sunsara Taylor who asked that we make it available to a broader audience…

 

  • David—What strategy do you use to develop effective messaging? And what do you consider to be an effective message, depending on the strategy?

My response:

In simplest terms, I use the truth as my guiding principle and strategy. If our goal, and I think it is, is to protect and provide safe abortion services to women nationwide when their particular causes and conditions necessitate the service, I do not think talking openly and honestly about a perfectly legal medical procedure which has been practiced for years with little risk to the patient in a manner that is clear and concise is at all radical or fanatical as some would cast it.

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David Gunn Jr, son of the first of eight abortion providers who have been murdered by anti-abortion assassins, speaks at the August 17 rally to defend the Jackson Women’s Health Organization clinic. Photo: StopPatriarchy.org

"Abortion on Demand and Without Apology" is empowering, clearly states what it is you support, and does not connote shame in any way.

Some consider the slogan radical. Some say it is too confrontational.

Read More

June 17th, 2013
stoppatriarchy

They told me not to feel bad about my abortion

That’s what a young woman said to her friend with wonder in her voice after encountering the #Stop Patriarchy booth at Warped Tour. She was pro-choice and wanted an #Abortion on Demand & Without Apology sticker but she had obviously never heard anyone talk positively about abortion. We mentioned how important and liberating the right to abortion is for all women, and how we need to fight for it this summer on the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride. It wasn’t long before she told us that she had had an abortion and wasn’t sorry she did, but also felt bad about it. We answered very supportively that abortion is a responsible choice, she obviously did the right thing for her, and she absolutely did not do anything wrong, period - so there’s no reason she should have to feel bad about it for the rest of her life. When her friend ran up behind her and got filled in about the conversation, she put her arm around her and gave her a kiss on the cheek and said, “You shouldn’t feel bad about your abortion.” The young woman smiled and you could literally see her shoulders relax. 

This needs to happen many times over and on a much larger scale throughout society. 1 in 3 American women will have an abortion by age 45. Think about how many teens and grown women are held back and held down by a burden of shame and stigma! This is totally unnecessary and should not be tolerated by anyone who cares about women or what kind of world we live in. 

This summer, Stop Patriarchy and all the people who will be joining us on the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride are setting out to change this! Imagine what it would look like, this new force on the scene, if everywhere the Freedom Ride travels, to all five states with only one clinic left, hundreds of girls and women, wave after wave, throw off the burden of shame and stigma and begin to proudly and defiantly fight to determine their own destinies and turn the tide for abortion rights. All this is tangible and possible.

This Freedom Ride is happening. Join it, Support it, Tell people about it. Donate at stoppatriarchy.org

January 6th, 2013
stoppatriarchy

"I asked Siri where the nearest abortion clinic was…"

Here’s a message sent to StopPatriarchy from Nikki who is coming to Washington DC for the Week of Action.  Read. Take a moment to think about what this means for women’s lives.  ACT. 


"Last year around this time a friend of mine bought the iPhone 4S, he was so excited about it and so was I. I wanted to play with Siri, the voice interpretation and recognition program that comes on that model and all subsequent models of the iPhone. The first thing I did, as a proud feminist, was to start talking to Siri about women’s issues. I asked Siri where the nearest abortion clinic was. Her response: 

Read More

March 8th, 2012
stoppatriarchy

Added a center of misogyny to protest

We’ll be stopping by here after St. Pat’s on Saturday.

Protest at Chiaroscuro Foundation office at 5th Ave. & 50th St. This group is responsible for major anti-abortion advertising including last year’s SoHo billboard which read “The Most Dangerous Place for an Afro-American is in the Womb.”  It’s a racist women-hating group that aims to shame black women who seek abortions.

SPREAD THE WORD!

March 7th, 2012
stoppatriarchy

March 10: Celebrate Abortion Providers

In or near NYC? We’ll see you in the streets celebrating International Women’s Day!

But no matter where you are on March 10 - you can appreciate an abortion provider. From World Can’t Wait:

Thank an abortion provider

With the escalating vicious nationwide attack on the right to abortion and even birth control going on, this National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers takes on new profound importance. All of us who are outraged by this endless onslaught on the reproductive choice need to take that all that righteous outrage and focus it for the next two weeks into making sure March 10th, National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers is a big celebration of abortion and the precious doctors who make this right available!

In 1996, March 10th was declared a National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers by a group of national organizations and individuals as a way of giving back to the people who risk so much to ensure women have access to abortion.

March 10th is the anniversary of the murder of Dr. David Gunn, the first provider murdered by an anti-abortion extremist. Since then doctors and clinic staff continue to be attacked, their clients mercilessly harassed, their facilities bombed and burned, and their doctors and staff murdered. Yet they continue going to work, braving an increasing onslaught from fundamentalist extremists, because they know their services are absolutely indispensable to the equality of women in this society.

Watch Dr. Susan Wicklund on what difference it makes to get a note of support, in the midst of threats, from Abortion, Morality, and the Liberation of Women.

Invite your friends via Facebook to participate.

Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.

Find a clinic near you: National Abortion Federation LIST Abortion Clinics Online LIST. Bring flowers & thank you cards in person (we recommend calling first).

You can download, print and send cards to providers by clicking on one of the images below. Designed to be printed on 8 1/2 x 11″ paper and folded in 4 – use a notecard envelope to keep from folding again. Thanks to Heather Ault with 4000yearsforchoice.com for the great designs!

Celebrate Roe Gather

Message from Alexis Zepeda
Volunteer Clinic Escort, DC Abortion Fund Board Member

For all abortion providers, clinic staff, volunteer escorts and local fund volunteers…

When she looks at the piece of paper with your phone number on it, she wonders who will watch her kids, will she have to travel to a different state, does her credit card have enough space on it, how much will she get when she pawns her TV, will he come through with the $300 he promised her…can she do this?

She walks through the gauntlet of protesters – the same people some of you walk past every day at work and at home – but remains resolute in her decision. This choice of hers is only a real possibility because of your dedication to the notion that as long as there are unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, there must be access to safe and legal abortion care.

Your work is revolutionary and empowering. Your goals are simple: value women, trust women, listen to women. By providing the compassionate and skilled abortion care that women and their families need, you save women’s lives. You are heroes. Thank you for all that you do. Hearing that every day would still never be enough. On March 10, know that you all play a critical role in our movement’s struggle to fight stigma, judgment and prejudice.

Thank you!!

Abortion is a matter of the heart: for until one understands the heart of a woman, nothing else about abortion makes any sense at all.
- Dr. George Tiller

January 14th, 2012
stoppatriarchy

Good Women Have Abortions!!

Banner created by Heather Ault, who is raising funds to get banners like these in DC at kickstarter.

JOIN US!!

Be in DC Jan 23 to Stand Up for Abortion & Birth Control!

(Source: heatherault.org)

January 6th, 2012
stoppatriarchy

Should a Woman Feel Sad About Her Abortion? Fuck No!

There is absolutely nothing wrong, tragic, unfortunate, or sad about a woman choosing to get an abortion. Nothing.

Why?

Because being forced to have a child against your will is enslavement. Period.

Why else?

Because fetuses are NOT babies. Fetuses have the potential to become babies, but until they are born they have no independent social or biological existence. They are a subordinate part of a woman’s body. Any state, religious, or family intervention which forces – or even pressures – a woman into subordinating her life, dreams and health to incubating that fetus against her will is completely unjust and illegitimate. It is immoral and it is enslaving.

But what about her responsibility? If she didn’t want a baby, shouldn’t she have thought of that before she “opened her legs”?

This argument is wrong on at least four levels. First, this suggests that it is wrong for women to have sex and that they must be punished for doing so (while applying a totally different standard to men). Second, this approach treats children – who should be wanted and well cared for – like nothing more than a punishment to women. Third, this ignores the fact that getting an abortion when one is not ready or eager to have a child is taking responsibility. Finally, this ignores the fact that it is the very Christian fascists who are criminalizing abortion who are responsible for denying increasing numbers of women access to birth control and sex education (which makes it enormously harder for them to protect themselves from pregnancy during sex in the first place).

But what about when a woman is raped? Or if she really wanted to have a baby but there is something wrong with the fetus or a danger to her own life? Doesn’t that make the abortion sad?

Again, fuck no!

If a woman is impregnated because of being raped, it is the rape that is the horrific crime – the abortion which prevents her from being forced to bear the child of her rapist is positive and liberating.

If a woman really wants a child but something goes wrong with the pregnancy, it is the medical problems that are the tragedy – the abortion that eliminates those dangers is positive and liberating.

*************************


Women are human beings, not incubators. A woman who cannot decide for herself when and whether she will have a child has no more freedom than a slave. Abortion is not something to apologize for, it is something to celebrate and defend. 1 in 3 women will have an abortion in her life, she is not wrong for doing so. It is time to declare loudly and boldly:

ABORTION ON DEMAND AND WITHOUT APOLOGY!!!


Sunsara Taylor writes for Revolution newspaper and is on the Advisory Board of World Can’t Wait. Follow her on twitter @sunsarataylor, friend her on facebook and add sunsarataylor.blogspot.com to your blogroll

January 5th, 2012
stoppatriarchy

Should a Woman Feel Sad About Her Abortion? Fuck No!

There is absolutely nothing wrong, tragic, unfortunate, or sad about a woman choosing to get an abortion. Nothing.

Why?

Because being forced to have a child against your will is enslavement. Period.

Why else?

Because fetuses are NOT babies. Fetuses have the potential to become babies, but until they are born they have no independent social or biological existence. They are a subordinate part of a woman’s body. Any state, religious, or family intervention which forces – or even pressures – a woman into subordinating her life, dreams and health to incubating that fetus against her will is completely unjust and illegitimate. It is immoral and it is enslaving.

But what about her responsibility? If she didn’t want a baby, shouldn’t she have thought of that before she “opened her legs”?

This argument is wrong on at least four levels. First, this suggests that it is wrong for women to have sex and that they must be punished for doing so (while applying a totally different standard to men). Second, this approach treats children – who should be wanted and well cared for – like nothing more than a punishment to women. Third, this ignores the fact that getting an abortion when one is not ready or eager to have a child is taking responsibility. Finally, this ignores the fact that it is the very Christian fascists who are criminalizing abortion who are responsible for denying increasing numbers of women access to birth control and sex education (which makes it enormously harder for them to protect themselves from pregnancy during sex in the first place).

But what about when a woman is raped? Or if she really wanted to have a baby but there is something wrong with the fetus or a danger to her own life? Doesn’t that make the abortion sad?

If a woman is impregnated because of being raped, it is the rape that is the horrific crime – the abortion which prevents her from being forced to bear the child of her rapist is positive and liberating.

If a woman really wants a child but something goes wrong with the pregnancy, it is the medical problems that are the tragedy – the abortion that eliminates those dangers is positive and liberating.

*************************

Women are human beings, not incubators. A woman who cannot decide for herself when and whether she will have a child has no more freedom than a slave. Abortion is not something to apologize for, it is something to celebrate and defend. 1 in 3 women will have an abortion in her life, she is not wrong for doing so. It is time to declare loudly and boldly:

ABORTION ON DEMAND AND WITHOUT APOLOGY!!!

Sunsara Taylor writes for Revolution Newspaper, is on the Advisory Board of World Can’t Wait, and is a co-host on Equal Time for Freethought on WBAI 99.5 in NYC. Follow her on Twitter @sunsarataylor, friend her on facebook, and add sunsara.blogspot.com to your blogroll. 

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