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US: Emergency Protests for Abortion Rights

April 8, 2014

Emergency Speak-Outs (April 11) and "Raise Bloody Coat-Hangers & Break The Shackles" Protests for Abortion Rights (April 12)

Abortion rights leaders and abortion providers will hold national emergency speak-outs to counter what they describe as an “abortion rights emergency” this Friday, April 11th. The following day, April 12th, will hold dramatic protests raising bloody coat-hangers in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City and in front of other institutions that have opposed women's right to abortion across the country.

The New York City flagship speak out will be live-streamed across the country and bring together Willie Parker, a doctor at the last abortion clinic in Mississippi, SunsaraTaylor, leader of last summer's Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, Rev. Donna Schaper, Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church,Merle Hoffman, CEO of Choices Women's Medical Center which has provided abortions since 1971, and many others. Novelist Marge Piercy has sent a video message where she describes nearly dying from her own illegal abortion at age 18.

Two of the organizers, Merle Hoffman and Mary Lou Greenberg, who exactly 25 years ago participated in the first ever civil disobedience in favor of abortion rights on April 2nd, 1989, at the same church in NYC, will take part in these events along with many from the new generations.

At the protest in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral, as well as other institutions nationwide, protesters will dress in all white and stand in silence for one full hour while raising blood-soaked coat-hangers, symbolizing the many women who bled to death after attempting to self-induce abortions before it was legal using coat-hangers. Protesters will also wear shackles, which they say represent the “enslavement of women.” Other protesters will dress in all black and carry pictures of women who have died around the world and in this country from illegal abortions. Bill Baird, pioneer of the reproductive rights movement who won the Supreme Court case granting unmarried women the right to birth control and who held his first protest at St. Patrick's back in 1965, will co-lead this silent protest.

“Abortion rights are in a state of emergency,” says Sunsara Taylor, initiator of and key organizer of these events. 203 restrictions on abortion have been passed into law in the last three years and dozens of abortion clinics have been forced to close. In March of this year, an abortion clinic was so severely vandalized it was forced to close indefinitely. Taylor continued, “When women are not able to decide for themselves when and whether to have a child, they are not free. Forced motherhood is female enslavement. That is something we refuse to allow. This is why we are speaking out and standing up.”

See video of author Marge Piercy:

Poet, novelist, and social activist Marge Piercy (New York Times bestseller Gone to Soldiers; Woman on the Edge of Time) records a moving account of her own illegal abortion, and speaks to the importance of abortion rights to be part of emergency programs and actions in cities nationwide April 11-12. "It was a time when falling in love could kill you," Piercy states, in recounting the story of her near death from her own illegal abortion, the death of her close friend and many others from botched abortions during the same period, and the life altering shame and stigma heaped on women and girls for unplanned pregnancies.

For a full schedule of nationwide events and speakers:


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