August 29th, 2014

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

TODAY at UT Austin, 5 Abortion Rights Freedom Riders, including intiator of Stop Patriarchy, Sunsara Taylor, were singled out and arrested when they joined with dozens of others in protesting the impending closure of abortion clinics in Texas, on the first official day of classes outside of UT Austin. 

Thousands of students gathered as the freedom riders blocked traffic for over half an hour. About a dozen people joined in the action on the spot, incredibly inspired by what was happening. Hundreds took videos and photos, and watched on in awe. 

There were many different reactions, both positive and negative. A few cars nearly hit some of the protesters, frustrated by not being able to get to lunch, or to work on time, etc. Yes, some people were inconvenienced today, but this is so much bigger than the day to day grind.

As we await the result of HB2 in Texas, it is still the case that most people do not even know that this law is scheduled to shut down all but 6 abortion clinics in the state. It is still the case that people think this is just a question of opinion, meanwhile this right is being stripped away, and affecting real women every single day. 

It is long past time that students, not only understand what’s going on nationally with this abortion rights emergency, but actually understand the implications of this, to half of humanity, and fight back. It is long past time that this complacency be challenged, that these lowered sights be raised, and that students throw in on this fight. 

Today, students were confronted with the reality of what it means when abortion is illegal or inaccessible. The question that poses itself in a moment like this: What will your life be about? What will your college career be about? Throughout history, students have always played a major role in movements against injustice. That needs to be the case today, in this abortion rights emergency.

Every single student, who does not want to see women forced to bear children against their will, who does not want to see women dying from self-inducing abortions due to inaccessibility, who does not want to see women’s rights be slammed back, and this backwards view of women be codified into law, needs to act NOW. It is not too late, we have not lost this battle. This is one of those moments in history where what we do really matters, and could have society wide impact. 


August 27th, 2014

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

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

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 20th, 2014

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?

August 20th, 2014

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

from Nova Tiller, an Abortion Rights Freedom Rider


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 20th, 2014

Report from Brownsville: “The more people I spoke to the more confident I became”

It was incredible to see that with a little bit of elbow grease, courage, like that young women we had met earlier that day, and some fucking truth people became emboldened and wanted to act.

Notes from an Abortion Rights Freedom Rider, Rio Grande

Monday, August 18, Rio Grande. Before heading to Brownsville I confided in a fellow freedom rider that I was nervous about going down with such a small crew and my lack of experience. I told her I was nervous about speaking to people about abortion and really taking initiative down in Brownsville. Her response is something that I think speaks volumes about the richness of today’s outreach; she said to me that one, everything was going to work out and not to worry, and two, and more importantly, that talking about abortion is easy or at least gets easier in time. Another freedom rider echoed this sentiment by emphasizing the strength in our varying degrees of experience and knowledge and that bolstered my confidence.

Under some awesome leadership, our crew set up camp in a stall at a weekly flea market in Brownsville. After setting up our table with flyers, pins, and stickers, and quite ironically hung up the “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology” sign with coat hangers, we got to talking with the folks passing by. At first I was shaky and watched as other freedom riders spoke to people, attentive to their confidence and the language they used to illustrate how serious this abortion rights emergency is. We would stop to chat and ask each other about how people were responding and what we could say to strengthen our responses.   

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August 16th, 2014

Urgently Needed: A Week of Defiance to Stop the Attacks on Abortion Rights

A call to action from the 11 Freedom Riders arrested outside Rick Perry’s mansion on August 13, 2014

The attacks on abortion rights have been relentless in recent years: dozens of forced clinic closures, hundreds of restrictions on abortion, flagrantly misogynist court rulings, acts of terrorism and intimidation against doctors, and all in the name of “life” and “religious freedom.”  This has meant thousands of women turned out and put down, dreams extinguished, futures foreclosed, and lives lost.  Millions have been lied to about abortion, and millions more trained and taught to apologize for abortion as a “necessary evil.”

It is time to put an end to the madness.  This is a question of whether women will be free, or whether they will be enslaved to a vicious patriarchal system that is hell bent on reproductive control, and sees women as nothing but sperm receptacles and baby-making machines.  This is a question of whether or not young girls will dare to dream of themselves as leaders, thinkers, fighters, and frankly, full human beings.  It is time to tell the truth about abortion, and to defy the powers that seek to enslave women: forced motherhood is female enslavement.

Read the whole letter here

Join in a Week of Defiance August 25 - September 1.  Join us in Austin (location TBA August 18), or claim your own space wherever you live:

  • Send a message or a story to Rick Perry and others like him - to be put on coat hangers and strung up in parks nationwide, and read aloud at protests
  • Bring your art, poems, and songs of resistance against the oppression of women
  • Lead or attend workshops on science, sex ed, history, abortion, and women’s liberation
  • Stage or attend speak-outs where abortion stories are told unapologetically
  • Invite everyone you know
  • Bring or send money, food and water, to Austin (location TBA 8/18), or anywhere that people are standing up in this way, to keep this going all week
  • Listen to the “People’s Hearings” with others who are determined to understand better what it means for real women when abortion is illegal, and why abortion rights are worth fighting for
  • March daily at 6pm wherever you are, with pictures of women’s faces, and strings of women’s stories on coat hangers, to the Governor’s mansion, or any institution that is spearheading the attacks on abortion
  • On September 1st, when all but 6 abortion clinics in Texas are set to close, join in civil disobedience wherever you are to send a clear message that you refuse to accept the future that patriarchy has in store for women

Contact today with your ideas and your intentions.  We will have your back no matter where you are.  If you have already reached out, expect a call from us this week.  We know this system has never gifted oppressed people with liberation, and you are urgently needed to be part of the kind of mass movement that is the only way that the course of history has ever changed.

Forced Motherhood is Female Enslavement.
Abortion on Demand & Without Apology!

August 16th, 2014
August 16th, 2014

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

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
August 7th, 2014

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. 

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End Pornography & Patriarchy: the Enslavement and Degradation of Women