From San Francisco Bay Area

Building for "WE WON'T GO BACK! Protest the 'Walk for Life'" in the SF Bay Area   

January 22, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


From Revolution Books, Berkeley: 

Defeat the War on Women! 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade
January 2013
Rise Up for Abortion Rights On the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade:

Tuesday Jan 22: Demonstrate at SF City Hall at noon in support of Roe v. Wade

Tuesday Jan 22: Meet at Revolution Books (7 pm) for Orientation around  Counter Protest of "Walk for Life"

Saturday Jan 26: All Out to protest  the "Walk for Life" (which should really be called the "march for female enslavement") at UN Plaza at noon. See flier and details below.

At Revolution Books:

At RB an older woman took fliers saying she had had a pre-Roe abortion. She said there was an underground, including some ministers would make calls to doctors, then they would find people who could give women rides to the border where someone from Canada would pick them up. Another older woman told me she had helped a friend obtain an illegal abortion in Saint Louis, that it was a terrifying process, calling an anonymous number, putting her friend's life in the hands of an unknown, not knowing if it would turn out ok. A younger woman described her abortion a decade ago, safe and legal but she had to go through a gauntlet of pro-life people first. A UCB student took fliers for her dorm, she expressed anger about the Walk For Life. "do they think they can come here and tell us we're immoral? I'll be there to carry a banner on Saturday."

From Facebook Event Page, by Stop Patriarchy & Pornography Bay Area:

“WE WON'T GO BACK! Protest the "Walk for Life"
Saturday, January 26, 2013
12:00pm until 3:00pm

The "Walk for Life West Coast" is a mass mobilization of anti-abortion activists from around the country that will descend for the 9th time on San Francisco and take to the streets with their doctored photos of stillborns, dehumanizing polarization of women as either incubators or murderers, and all the messages of objectification, enslavement, shame, and condemnation that typifies this front of the War on Women.

Despite popular misconception, the right to abortion is NOT safe under Obama. In 2011, 92 restrictions were passed on abortion access throughout the country. This is almost three times the previous record of 34 restrictions passed in 2005—and that was under Bush! In rural areas of the U.S., 97% of counties do not have any abortion provider. We must rely on ourselves!

Our counterprotest should plant a different pole, a movement of women and men who are uncompromising and refusing to stop until all women have access to abortion on demand and without apology. The movement to End Pornography & Patriarchy has a powerful track record of going right up against the most entrenched institutions and forces of patriarchy, and bringing forward powerful, transformative and contageous resistance. This protest can take all that higher, and lay a basis for going even further. All that’s needed is YOU!

Meet us on January 22 at Defeat the War on Women! A Meeting for Orientation & Action:
We Won't Go Back!
Abortion On Demand & Without Apology!
Defeat the War on Women!

January 14:  We are going out EVERY DAY with this message, this movement, and this event, to call on others to participate, speak out, and struggle with people to understand and fight to END the War on Women, here and around the world. Also, there is an important event at Revolution Books (2425 Channing): Panel—Outrage in India & Resisting the Global Culture of Rape. Additionally, our fundraising campaign ends on Wednesday of this week! Donate today, and let people know that whatever they can contribute will be used to directly confront & resist the anti-abortion movement, and the war on women.

Today's fliering outing—Monday. @5-7: 24th Street BART, San Francisco

January 19:  Today we were out in the Grand Lake area of Oakland and a few people told us they were pro-choice and that we were just preaching to the choir. Well, if so, the choir is NOT LOUD ENOUGH or big enough and some of it is napping. We need to come out in significant numbers to fight to defend abortion rights now, time for "massive, uncompromising struggle" as Sunsara says in this article: “Abortion: Stigmatized and Endangered: Time for Massive, Uncompromising Struggle”

January 20: Doctors, Providers at Unitarian Church Event—we’re celebrating our legacy and it’s complex. 

January 21: Crews of people from Revolution Books went out today in San Francisco and in Oakland to spread BA Everywhere and to build for the Jan 22 and January 26 protests.  In San Francisco we leafleted the MLK Day March and rally in the Moscone Center in the downtown area.  Mainly we were getting out Basics 1:1 and the palmcard announcing the radio interviews Bob Avakian has done with Cornel West and Michael Slate—there was a lot of interest in this with most people taking the cards.  We also got out the leaflet for the protests in defense of women’s rights on January 22 and 26.  When you told people that you could not get an abortion in 97% of counties in rural areas and that more anti-abortion laws were passed on the state level in the last two years under Obama than ever before—including during the Bush years, people took notice.  They didn’t know this.  But there’s a lot of struggle to be had to change the thinking of all too many women—and men—who generally support abortion. 

For example, one young woman I talked to was from Washington State.  She lived in the north, outside Bellingham, where Western Washington University is located, and said that she knew what I was talking about in terms of the rural areas—‘you get outside Bellingham and it’s a whole different story’ regarding abortion.  But she herself was somewhat defensive about the issue.  She blanched when I said abortion on demand without apology and said abortion should be kept legal because any woman who has a miscarriage certainly needs an abortion to protect her health.  But then she went on to say that abortion shouldn’t be used to justify poor or irresponsible decisions—like someone who was a drug addict, as if to imply that such a person would be irresponsibly having sex and then using abortion as birth control.  I pointed out that anyone who didn’t feel able or willing to have children should be able to get an abortion.  Anyway, she was sympathetic to what we’re doing and was interested in checking us out.  But again—lots of struggle to be had with allies—let alone those on the other side of the question. 

Taking out the protest against the so-called March for Life 1/21

We went to two spots in SF—16th and Valencia, in the heart of the Mission district, where hipsters, immigrants, homeless and middle class people converge and Powell and Market downtown. 

At 16th and Valencia, we had a table with Basics, palm cards and large posters of a Revolution on the attacks on abortion and a poster and cards we passed out from Basics: “You can’t break all the chains but one...”  We loudly called on people to “Defeat the War on Women and to Stand Up for Abortion rights.”  This drew some interest from people passing by.  Many got fliers and some stopped to talk. 

Responses ranged wildly from people being really glad there was going to be a protest against the anti-abortion forces to a few vociferously yelling, cursing us and threatening us.  The people who liked the counter protest with some saying they’d try to come included younger women who didn’t want the 1,000's of anti-abortion forces to set the terms and march down Market Street unopposed.  One older woman said she had been to a protest in Washington D.C. in the 80's that had 10,000 people marching for abortion.  She recounted how she felt in the 80's when the first person got shot for providing abortions and she thought things were going to start getting turned around against abortions and this was really a bad thing.  A college student who had heard of Bob Avakian and Basics in NY, had just gotten into town and was glad to run into us.  She took a bundle of fliers to get out to students in her classes.  One older man liked the slogan that “Women are Not Incubators!” and two men thought it was right to get out in the streets and not let the other forces take the streets without vocal opposition.  Several people agreed that without abortion women would be like slaves. 

Three high school girls said they don’t often hear any discussion about abortion but they were supportive.  Some people took fliers without saying much, though some said, “I’m with you.”

The arguments against abortion included: fetuses are human beings, capable of life and it was wrong to abort them, if everyone got an abortion, there would be no one to work (!), one guy said, “I’m adopted and I’m alive” as if that meant every woman should not be allowed to get abortions.

An interesting conversation developed with a young Black woman who said she followed her Christian religion which said sex was for procreation only, not for pleasure and it was wrong to have abortions.  I said does that mean that a woman would just have to continually give birth to child after child? She didn’t really have an answer to that.  She said if someone failed to use birth control it was their responsibility to give birth.  I asked what if someone did use birth control and got pregnant—should she be forced to have a baby, even if she didn’t want to?  I said this was like slavery.  She said she was a lesbian so it didn’t really matter.  I said okay, but what about all other women—why shouldn’t they be able to decide whether or not to have a baby?  She had to stop and think about this and then said maybe they shouldn’t have to give birth.  

While the majority we talked to were supportive and some said they wanted to come to the counter protest, a few people got very belligerent.  One guy started yelling at us saying we were murderers if we supported abortions and was agitating to others not to take our materials.  He loudly proclaimed that we were “Satan’s Disciples.”  Another guy walked by, heard what it was about and said something like women already have their rights, shove it up your vagina, you bitch and yelled, “What about the homeless?” 

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.