Abortion Rights Freedom Ride July 24 - August 25

From Stop Patriarchy | June 30, 2013

Abortion freedom ride
Abortion is an issue that divides this country. This is no accident. How one thinks and feels about abortion flows fundamentally from how one views women.

We recognize that women are full human beings who must have the right – through unrestricted and unstigmatized access to birth control and abortion – to decide for themselves when and whether they will have children. We reject the view that a woman's highest purpose and fundamental “duty” is to bear children, even those she does not want or cannot care for.

For decades, a movement which calls itself “pro-life” has unleashed violence against abortion providers, shamed and humiliated women, and relentlessly restricted access to abortion, especially for poor women.

Abortion Rights Freedom Ride
July 24 - August 25

Caravans will travel from both coasts, rallying and gathering support along the way, arriving in North Dakota before August 1 when new laws are set to shut down the last abortion clinic in the state. Then, down to Wichita where those who courageously re-opened the clinic of Dr. George Tiller following his assassination by an anti-abortion gunman are facing serious, and escalating threat. On to Jackson, Mississippi where a temporary court injunction is the only thing keeping the last remaining clinic in the state open. All along the way, we’ll protest and confront the anti-abortion woman-haters, erect visual displays that tell the truth about abortion and birth control, collect and amplify women’s abortion stories in order to break the silence, defend the clinics and providers most under attack, and meet with people to build lasting organization to DEFEAT the whole war on women.

What you can do:

  1. JOIN THE FREEDOM RIDE — Sign up online for a leg or the whole ride!     
  2. REACH OUT to people you know along the route and ask them to provide housing, organize welcome parties and protests, and offer support in any way. Some planned/possible stops are Cleveland, Chicago, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Jackson (WY), Denver, Boulder, Fargo, Bismarck, Sioux Falls, Bellevue, Wichita, Little Rock, Jackson (MS)…
  3. DONATE as generously as you can and ask others you know to do the same.
  4. SIGN AND CIRCULATE the Abortion on Demand & Without Apology statement — among friends, family, online communities and to any prominent people you know.
  5. CONTRIBUTE YOUR SKILLS in legal observation and defense, graphic design, art and construction, social media, videography, etc (for a large but portable visual display and to amplify the Freedom Ride both before and along the way). 
  6. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Share your own unapologetic abortion story by emailing us text or video to be posted on the Stop Patriarchy blog. 
  7. STAY CONNECTED — Come to the next meeting, do outreach at events with the Stop Patriarchy crew, sign up for the e-list.

Over 80% of abortion clinics have experienced violence, threats, or harassment; eight doctors and staff have been murdered. Today, 97% of rural counties have no abortion provider. One in four poor women who seeks an abortion cannot afford it and is forced to have a child she does not want. Five states have only one abortion clinic left.

This assault has intensified, not slowed, under the Presidency of Obama. 2011 and 2012 saw record new legal restrictions on abortion. Already this year, 278 bills have been introduced to further restrict abortion, including laws set to go into effect that would shut down the last clinic in North Dakota on August 1. Added to this, the Obama administration fought relentlessly to keep emergency contraception ("Morning After Pill") off the shelves and out of the hands of the women and girls who desperately need it.

Reproductive rights are in a state of emergency.

If this direction is not reversed, women face being returned to the situation that prevailed for millennia – until only very recently – being forced to subordinate their dreams in order to have children against their will, or to risk their lives to avoid this. We are headed towards a situation like that in El Salvador where women face long imprisonment for abortion and where nurses and doctors must either turn women in or risk being imprisoned themselves.

This assault on the right to choose abortion is not driven by “concern for babies” or women. The fact is, this “pro-life” movement stands unanimous in its opposition to birth control and comprehensive sex education, the most effective means of preventing unwanted pregnancies. Republican leaders in this movement have fanned hatred of women by shaming women who have sex, belittling the monstrous crime of rape, and in other ways.

The truth is: Fetuses are NOT babies. Abortion is NOT murder. Women are NOT incubators.

For too long, millions have watched in alarm as yesterday's outrageous and unthinkable attack has become today's “compromise position” and tomorrow's limit of what can be imagined. This dynamic must be broken. The political leaders of the Democratic Party cannot be relied on to do this. While posing as the last bastion of defense against these attacks, these “leaders” have in fact seriously undermined reproductive rights by seeking “common ground” with fascists and religious fanatics, by ceding the moral high ground, by severing abortion from women's emancipation and by refusing to stand up when abortion providers are murdered.

We must rely on ourselves. We call on people everywhere to:

This July and August, there will be an abortion rights caravan traveling across this country to many places where attacks are most severe, including being in North Dakota on August 1st when new laws are set to go into effect that would criminalize abortion after six weeks and shut down the last clinic in the state. We support this action as well as other efforts across the country to defend abortion providers and defeat similar laws in other states. We pledge to resist and call on all who care about freedom, justice, and women's lives to do the same!

Forced motherhood is female enslavement.

Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!

Add your name to this statement.

This call to action was issued by Stop Patriarchy.