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
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August 16th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

The Abortion Rights Freedom Ride at the Austin Federal Courthouse on the last day of the HB2 trial. If this law stands, thousands more women will be forced into motherhood against their will. We held the signs of women who died as a result of illegal abortion on the court steps because many more women will begin to self-induce abortions, and will die as a result, if the courts rule on the wrong side of this. This is entirely unacceptable! We refuse to sit back as this fundamental right is stripped away from women. Where do you stand?

August 16th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

We are living through a time of ominous Supreme Court rulings, of legislatures that have made it very clear that they are not going to stand on the side of women. Hundred of restrictions coming down across abortion, dozens of clinics forced to close across this country. If you are a person who feels a moral obligation to women, and maybe you have considered yourself to be pro-life, it is time to actually investigate, it is time to hear the stories of the women, and if you are a woman who has had an abortion now is time to tell it in public.

One in three women have abortions, it is not a certain kind of woman, it is definitely not an irresponsible woman. It is a responsible choice, a moral choice and a liberating choice. In a world full of rape, in a world full of abuse, and a world where there is actually global war on women raging. it is essential that women in every state have to Abortion on Demand and Without Apology. It is not easy to tell these stories.

Alex Petersburg - Abortion Rights Freedom Rider
August 12th, 2014
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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.

August 7th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

An Abortion Rights Battle Bigger Than Texas | Sunsara Taylor Interview [ATV 013] with Dennis Trainor Jr. 

Sunsara Taylor of Stop Patriarchy sat down with Dennis Trainor, Jr. of Acronym TV just days before leading a month long Abortion Rights Freedom Ride in Texas. The freedom ride is currently underway and will run through September 1, by which time Texas is expected to close all but six abortion clinics statewide.

August 7th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

Some photos from our second People’s hearing, this time in Austin. It was an incredibly powerful and emotional evening, full of horrific stories which concentrated so much of what it means to be a woman in this society, from forced motherhood and being forced to prostitute oneself to survive and provide for a child, to the danger of being a woman travelling the world alone, and the reality that rape is a constant threat. All of this and more is why we need to step out fearlessly today, and wage a fierce fight, for abortion on demand and without apology, and for the full liberation of women!

August 7th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

Abortion Rights Freedom Ride 2014: HB2 Hearing - Austin, TX Media Compilation

One of our main goals of the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride is to change the terms of the fight around abortion. It has NEVER been about babies, it has always been about women’s enslavement or women’s liberation. The media in Austin and beyond could not ignore this, which came through to hundreds of thousands. 

August 6th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

TONIGHT! Come out if you are in the Austin, TX area (Austin Centre - 3809 South 2nd St. Austin, TX) or TUNE IN HERE at 7pm CST to hear the stories of what life was like for women before Roe vs. Wade, what abortion providers and clinic escorts go through today, being under constant siege from anti-abortion fanatics, and what women go through today living in a society where abortion has never been more stigmatized, more dangerous to provide, and more difficult to access. 

The horrors that women had to go through and continue to go through today to exercise this basic right, are very real, but things don’t have to be this way. Stop Patriarchy is leading a movement of mass resistance, out to change the terms of this fight, and this program, and others like it, is an essential part of this.

Bring your friends, loved ones, and others together to watch this webcast. Be a part of a growing movement that is changing the terms of this fight, and building up the strength to stop this war on women.

August 5th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

Dennis Trainor, radical journalist, taking a stand for Abortion On Demand and Without Apology. Check out this teaser of an interview with Sunsara Taylor on the abortion rights emergency. Full interview will be released tonight!

August 5th, 2014
stoppatriarchy

8am today at the Austin Federal Courthouse welcoming the courageous abortion providers who are standing up for women as they entered the courthouse for their second day of the trial, and talking to folks in the neighborhood throughout the day. 

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