Three Lessons on the Anniversary of Wendy Davis’s Filibuster of Anti-Abortion Restrictions
by Sunsara Taylor
In many cities across Texas, celebrations are being organized on July 25th to celebrate the one year anniversary of Wendy Davis’s filibuster of the anti-abortion bill SB5. The following are three points for everyone reflecting on this anniversary.
1. There are tens of thousands of people in Texas, as well as even more across the country as a whole, who can be mobilized to stand up and fight for abortion rights. In the days preceding and then throughout Davis’s filibuster, many thousands of people flooded into the Texas capitol to speak publicly of their abortions, to voice their anger at the proposal to take this right away from huge numbers of women, to scream and yell and disrupt business as usual, and even to get arrested on behalf of protecting women’s right to abortion. This is an indication of the depth, breadth and ferocity of the reservoir of potential fighters not only for women’s full reproductive freedom but also for the full liberation of women against all forms of degradation, violence, discrimination, sexual assault, and enslavement.
2. The fact that, despite this outpouring of opposition, the government went ahead and passed these draconian anti-woman, anti-abortion restrictions, that many abortion clinics have been forced to close, and that all but six remaining clinics are set to close on September 1st just shows that while the battle must rage in many spheres, relying on the official structures and channels of politics can only lead to disaster. For the last forty years, the battle over abortion has repeatedly moved further and further to the right so that consistently yesterday’s outrage becomes today’s compromise position and tomorrow’s limit of what can be imagined. This has gone on not only in Texas, but across the country. As the entire spectrum of official politics moves further and further to the right, this direction can not be reversed simply by strengthening the “left end” of that spectrum. It is necessary to step outside of these official channels and fight against this whole direction.
3. Now is the time for everyone who does not want to see women reduced to breeders and forced to have children against their will to stand up and join in mass, independent, political resistance. Through our actions and our uncompromising truth-telling, we must set different terms throughout society – making clear to everyone that the fight over abortion has never been about babies and has always been about whether women will be enslaved to their reproduction or treated as full human beings. NOW is the time to step forward – by ourselves if we must and together where we can – to declare boldly: Abortion On Demand and Without Apology! Forced Motherhood is Female Enslavement! One critical effort underway is the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride: Ground Zero Texas which is coming in August and into September. I invite and urge everyone to get involved with this effort, on the ground in Texas and as a “virtual Freedom Rider” from anywhere in the country. Together we must create a political situation where the courts and the powers that be are worried about massive levels of protest, militant non-violent resistance, and massive disaffection should they rule negatively. This is critical for the women in Texas and as a key front in reversing this deadly trajectory nation-wide. Everyone has a role to play and the future of women as a whole is at stake!
Sunsara Taylor is a writer for Revolution Newspaper (revcom.us) and initiator of End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women (StopPatriarchy.org).