Sunsara Taylor in Washington, DC:

Fighting for Abortion on Demand and Confronting People with the Real Truth on All This

January 28, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


January 20-26, 2013, the Stop Patriarchy Campaign held a Week of Action to Defend Abortion & Defeat the War on Women in Washington, DC. There were also actions in the San Francisco Bay Area. The following excerpts are from one of Sunsara Taylor’s blog posts, written from DC. Go to and to read the whole blog, as well as much more coverage of the whole week of events in DC and the Bay Area, including photos and links to press coverage.

January 25, 2013

We’ve been out on the street as much as the weather will allow—fingers and toes become painful and then numb within half an hour in this subfreezing weather, even with those amazing toe and hand warmers.

Day 4 in DC, out defending Planned Parenthood and counter-protesting the lunatic anti-abortion Christian fascists.

Yesterday we went out to a college campus. We were decked out in bright stickers and signs sticking out of our backpacks which read, “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!”

More Coverage at

Most of the coverage here is from Plans, Reports, and Photos Straight from the Week of Action for Abortion Rights from Washington, DC, and San Francisco at (in the “Fight the Power, and Transform the People, for Revolution” section). is a dynamic hub for correspondence, analysis, guidance, struggle, engagement, photos, audio, and video, in more or less real time. It provides people with a living feel for the movement for revolution, emerging on the critical front of fighting for the right to abortion and for ending patriarchy and the oppression of women all over the world. And it connects that with the whole movement for revolution. These reports illustrate how a small but critical mass of determined people broke into the mainstream media and discourse in the U.S. and around the world, cutting through the deadly terms of things with liberating truth. This gives a living sense that things do not have to be this way!

Come back to for full coverage of the week of action in DC and SF.

See interviews with volunteers at the week of Protest for Abortion Rights in Washington D.C. in "Speaking Out Against Patriarchy."

The response from the students was mixed but overall very positive. A handful of students were vehemently anti-abortion and refused to stop. But a good number of those who began by saying they were against abortion were quick to add that they understood there are sometimes circumstances that makes it necessary. We never found this satisfactory and we never left things at this. “Do you realize that right now it is very difficult for millions of women to get an abortion? 97% of rural counties in this country do not have an abortion provider. Doctors have been killed and women are being shamed. The truth is women who cannot decide for themselves when and whether to have a child have no more freedom than slaves.” This would usually get people really tuned in—most people don’t know any of this. People have the misconception that abortion is somehow widely available and over-used.

After jolting people as to what the reality is, we would go further still. “Fetuses are not babies. They are a subordinate part of a woman’s body. Because of this, abortion is not murder and there is nothing wrong with it. It is a perfectly moral and responsible decision to get an abortion if a woman wants one.” This would open up discussion in a very deep way. No one we have talked to has yet heard anything like this. People asked a lot of questions and we would provide answers. The truth is, not everyone who began inclined against abortion got won over in the course of these conversations, but a lot did! Especially among young people, young men as well as young women.

Fetuses Are NOT Babies!
From Sunsara Taylor’s Day 2 Blog:

The arguments that the people in our crew were making were getting sharper throughout the day. They were cutting through the obfuscation and claim to a “higher morality” of the anti-abortion movement. They were the kind of arguments which caused many of the young anti-abortion activists to turn around and back away because they could not answer them. They were the kind of arguments that, if they were being made more consistently throughout society in this debate, could enable those who care about the lives and the liberation of women to turn the tide. Some examples:

Why should a baby have to suffer because a woman made a mistake?

First, fetuses are not babies—so when an abortion takes place, no baby is suffering. Second, why is a woman having sex considered a mistake? Sex is not wrong. When it is engaged in with mutual respect and equality, when it is engaged in out of mutual caring and pleasure, it can be one of the most amazing experiences humans can have.

But it is a baby! Once the sperm meets the egg, if you leave it alone it will become a baby.

Wow, what happened to the woman? If you take a sperm and an egg and actually leave them alone, they will die in a few seconds. A fertilized egg doesn’t become a baby because it is “left alone.” It becomes a baby only if it is incubated by a woman’s body. Only if the woman takes in nutrients, keeps on breathing, living, and functioning does the fertilized egg develop over time, and through stages, into a fetus and later into a baby. But, until it is born it is not a separate social or biological being. It is part of a woman’s body. That woman is a person, the fetus is NOT!

There were also a great number of people who were incredibly supportive and happy to see us out. They thanked us as they walked by, saying things like, “I am with you!” The notion that is being widely promoted by the anti-abortion forces this week, the notion that this new generation is the “Pro-Life Generation” is a fucking lie. This is one thing we are seeing face to face and close up in every outing we have. But, it is also the case that the anti-abortion elements of this generation are far more mobilized and energized than the greater portion that supports the right to abortion. And, it is clearly the case that—owing not only to the vigorous fight that has been waged by Christian fascists to demonize and restrict abortion over decades, but also to the craven capitulation to this fight and its terms by the official “pro-choice” movement—most people who support the right to abortion still think of it as something that ought to be avoided because on some level it is wrong.

This is why we would spend so much time arguing with people—even those who agreed in the main. And then there was the ongoing challenge of fighting for people to see the need to ACT. To join in a movement that is fighting to end all forms of enslavement and degradation of women. It really is not enough to support the right to abortion, in a society where that right is being taken away if you are not fighting to defend and expand access and to destigmatize abortion and to defend providers, you are allowing this right to disappear.

Many people were very curious as to what we thought was needed and this opened up a lot of debate over whether it does anything to “vote pro-choice” or whether we need to be resisting. In these debates, for many of us, it often opened up into a bigger (and very controversial) discussion of just how criminal the whole program and impact of Obama’s presidency (and the Democrats more broadly) is—from the killer drones to the continuation of torture at Guantánamo to the blaming of Black youth for their oppressed conditions as prisons and police continue to steal the lives of millions to record numbers of deportations and a whole program of capitulation and “common ground” with the attacks on abortion. I and a few others with this crew have been promoting the need for an actual revolution—the way that it has been reenvisioned and is being led by Bob Avakian and the Revolutionary Communist Party. We’ve been getting out Revolution newspaper to folks who really hear us when we challenge them in this way.

This Is What We Are!

From a letter to the volunteers for the Week of Action to Defend Abortion Rights and Defeat the War on Women, days before the beginning of that week:

We are just a few days away from our Week of Action to Defend Abortion Rights and Defeat the War on Women and, even as we are all super busy getting ready, I think it is important to step back and appreciate what we are embarking on and its significance and potential.

In 1928, at the height of the white-supremacist terroristic backlash against the abolition of slavery, the KKK brought 50,000 people to march on Washington, DC. This march was embraced by many officials in politics. Now, think if, in this kind of situation, those who claimed the banner of Black people’s rights, rather than confronting and countering these protests, instead held celebrations of “how far Black people had come.” Think if one of the major groups who millions looked to to stand up for the rights of Black people chose this moment to announce to the world that it was abandoning the label “anti-racist” because “labels are divisive” and the subjugation of Black people is “complicated.”

This is a very good analogy to the situation that is confronting women on the fast-approaching 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

As our call for the Week of Action points out: at no time in the last 40 years has the right to abortion been more restricted, more under attack, more dangerous to provide, or more stigmatized. The last two years have had the two largest numbers of restrictions passed on abortion across the country. Tens of thousands of Christian fascists are about to march on both coasts to publicly denounce not only abortion but also birth control. Many politicians will send messages of support to these fascist rallies. Yet the official “pro-choice” movement is calling for celebrations! Planned Parenthood has chosen this moment to announce, through a recent video campaign, that it is dropping the label “pro-choice” because they consider it too “divisive.”

All this does NOT show that there is no basis for the kind of massive, uncompromising, society-wide resistance necessary to turn the tide. What this shows is that that kind of massive, uncompromising, society-wide resistance will only come about if a new movement breaks free of all this played-out-shit and fights for all-the-way liberation for women! There are millions today who are not acting in the way they need to not because they can’t or they won’t, but because there hasn’t been the leadership blazing a trail, inspiring them, struggling with them, giving them strength, and rallying them forth.

This is what we are!

One of our volunteers has continually made the point to us, in our informal discussions and time spent with each other, that up until just a few weeks ago she herself was “pro-life.” She had never heard what people like us are saying. She has actually stressed this in relation to the revolution as a whole—the real history of this system and the real meaning of slavery (nothing like the half a page and half a day spent on it in high school!), the real role of the police in enforcing an unjust and exploitative order, the role of the U.S, around the world in waging unjust wars, and the possibility of a whole different world. She keeps repeating, “I know I am only twenty-one, but I should have known about this a long time ago. All this has been kept from me.” She is so right—and this has been one of our big reminders of why it is so essential for us to keep going out very, very broadly to the masses of people with the message that this world is intolerable and we do not have to live this way and what kind of struggle is needed to turn this tide and ultimately bring about a whole different and far better world.

Last night a bunch of us listened to the most recent installment of Michael Slate’s interview with Bob Avakian and got into a very deep discussion about a lot of this—about how an actual revolution could come about, whether that is really necessary, what is the truth about the first wave of communist revolution, why this was defeated and what should be learned from that, the impact it would have on society to spread BA Everywhere especially in terms of lifting people’s sights and inspiring them with the possibility of a different world and the desire to fight for it, and many other big questions. All of this wrangling is pulsing through our time here—with different people bringing in their own understandings, but engaging with an open mind and deepening our common commitment to go out and fight for others to take up this struggle for the liberation of women.

We have, of course, run into people who argue ferociously against abortion in all circumstances and one of the most noteworthy things about these people is how extremely crude their negative views of women are. We have heard so much derision against women for “spreading their legs” and so much cruelty and straight-up bigotry from people who insist that the woman’s life really doesn’t matter, that it is her duty to bring to term every pregnancy and raise children. That to not raise children as her main desire in life is “selfish.” That “feminists made up the desire for abortion because they were selfish and wanted the same rights as men.” We have heard so much backwardness—and the truth is this is all the backwardness and judgment that piles on the heads of women every day, women who have sex, women who have abortions, women who are raped, women who try to walk down the street and cannot without being treated like a piece of meat or a piece of garbage.

Even if you don’t acknowledge it, even if you are one of those people who can sometimes avoid interacting with this most crude shit, it is out there and it is pervasive and it is unabashed and it is crushing the lives of so many women and it is part of the weight sitting on all women.

January 26. Confronting and opposing the anti-abortion “Walk for Life” in San Francisco. 200 people rallied and marched for 3 hours along Market Street, chanting defiantly in the faces of the marchers for forced motherhood: “Women are NOT incubators! Fetuses are NOT babies! Abortion is NOT murder!” It was a beautiful day of unity and strength among people who wanted to resist and were not satisfied with merely “celebrating” the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The march was followed by an impromptu speak-out and people made plans to meet the next day—all who want to stop patriarchy are invited! This is just the beginning.

One woman we encountered who was filled with a lot of this backwardness on this campus yesterday was insisting that women bring their pregnancies to term and give the baby up for adoption. The volunteer who had been arguing with her for a while up till then finally just lost her temper, “Do you realize what that does to a woman or a girl, to her body, to how much suffering she has to go through, through how much judgment and stigma that is put on her, and then to have to make a baby and give it away? Do you know how cruel that is? And besides, how is that good for a baby. Get real. I know what happens in the foster system—those babies go into families where they are raped and molested, abused and neglected, and no one cares about them and they suffer all this shit and the whole time they are thinking they deserved it because even their own parents don’t want them. Then they end up running away and they end up getting pimped out as prostitutes or pimped out into porn—all of this destroying their own lives and making more of this shit culture that destroys the lives of other women. This is so wrong I cannot even talk to you!”

I, of course, am paraphrasing—but I am capturing the basic content and spirit. But I regret you cannot hear her say it herself. She is usually pretty quiet, but each day out here she—like all the volunteers—has been getting sharper in her arguments and bolder in her convictions. It seems to me she probably knows people who have had experiences like she described—and certainly this is true to what goes on. I am so proud of the crew who is here, and so deeply impressed by them. And they are getting more impressive by the day!...

We have more big things we are under way with and I have to, once again, get running. I do want to note that we have been wrestling with and promoting among people the need to see the fight for abortion rights as one essential part of a larger fight—for the full liberation of women. This is connected to the global epidemic of rape, of violence against women, of pornography and objectification of women, and much more. As one woman told us, “I never thought of myself as enslaved, but I am beginning to see what you mean.” Reporting more fully on this—both its impact out on the street and the wrangling and transformation of our crew here around our deepening understanding of this—will have to wait....

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