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Abortion Rights Freedom Ride: Ground Zero Texas

Abortion Rights Freedom Ride: Ground Zero Texas
As SCOTUS clamps down on Repro Rights - Stop Patriarchy Mobilizing Nationally to Front Lines of Battle

July 24, 2014

On the heels of two major Supreme Court rulings against Reproductive Rights, and with a District Court set to rule August 4th on controversial and far reaching restrictions that have the potential to leave Texas with only 6 clinics on September 1 and set a dangerous precedent for clinics nationwide, Stop Patriarchy has initiated the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride 2014: Ground Zero Texas to mobilize people coast to coast to be in Texas this summer from July 30 through September, draw a line, reclaim the moral high ground, bring a spotlight to this crisis, and stop and reverse the closures of abortion clinics.

Through nationally webcast "Public Hearings" - featuring testimony from women who risked their lives or had their futures foreclosed Pre-Roe, as well as women facing the shame, stigma, and lack of access to abortion clinics today - the scale, scope, and life and death stakes of clinic closures will be brought into sharp focus. These Public Hearings will also include testimony from abortion providers and voices of conscience from the art and music world. See: Marge Piercy video statement and April 11 emergency forums.

First Public Hearing: Wednesday, July 30th, 7pm - Encore Theatre, 4715 Main St., Houston, TX

In dramatic, confrontational, non-violent protests - men and women raising bloody coat hangers (to represent the fact that women die from using wire hangers to self induce when abortion is illegal) and shackles to represent the enslavement of women, including images of the many women who have died from illegal abortions - institutions and individuals in Texas who have driven this assault on women’s right to abortion will be directly challenged. See: April 12 coat hanger actions nationwide.

"When abortion is illegal, women die," says Sunsara Taylor, initiator of Stop Patriarchy and writer for Revolution. "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. Forced motherhood is female enslavement, and everyone has a role to play when the future of women as a whole is at stake."

Having just launched an online fundraiser, this project has already garnered support from significant providers, community leaders, and intellectuals such as Merle Hoffman, CEO of Choices Women's Medical Center; Dianne Derzis, owner of the last abortion clinic in MS, who offered 2 free abortion services for low-income women as part of the fundraiser; Dr. Susan Wicklund, author "This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor"; Carol Downer, co-founder of Feminist Women's Health Center in LA; Sikivu Hutchinson, author "Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics and the Values Wars." Rev. Donna Schaper, Senior Minister at Judson Church in New York City
Calling for "Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!" the stigma, shame and morality of the anti-abortion side will be directly and openly challenged.

While aiming to influence the courts decision, Stop Patriarchy draws inspiration from the original Freedom Riders, and sees bold, brave, and determined political resistance, rather than relying on the traditional channels of politicians and courts, as the necessary strategy to reverse these attacks.

The Freedom Ride will also draw on important lessons learned from last summer’s Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, which travelled to the 6 states that have only one abortion clinic remaining, and garnered support from notable figures such as Gloria Steinem, Mark Ruffalo, and Eve Ensler.

The Abortion Rights Advisory Board includes:
Diane Derzis, owner, Jackson Women's Health Organization (last abortion clinic in Mississippi)
Carol Downer, founder of Feminist Women's Health Centers which began doing abortions in 1971
Merle Hoffman, CEO Choices Women's Medical Center which began doing abortions in 1971
Sunsara Taylor, writer, Revolution, initiator, End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women
Wendy Robinson, Director, Voice of Choice

ENDS

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