Stop Patriarchy Counter-Protest Against the Walk for Life (or what happens when you tell the truth about abortion!)

January 30, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

The week I spent in San Francisco as part of the Bi-Coastal Mobilizations on the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade was a struggle…in the best and most fun sense of the word! Leading up to the 29th, the day of the counter-protest showdown against the “Walk for Life” we went out to college campuses and street corners and got into it with people: The emergency of the right to abortion not existing for women in most parts of the U.S., the need to confront the reality of that and the forces that want to take us back to the Dark Ages head-on, and why it is important for people to understand that abortion is NOT murder if we are to win this fight.

As someone who met the movement for revolution through work as a pro-choice student activist in the late 80s, I remember when there was less defensiveness about getting an abortion and more scientific clarity about what an abortion actually is, as well as a basic understanding that the right to abortion was a moral imperative without which women could not be free and full human beings. The antis and the everyday patriarchs never went away, and they began their attacks on abortion immediately after Roe v. Wade, but the rest of us fucking knew better than to apologize for having control over our own bodies and lives! When the equivalent of the Walk for Life came to our State Capitol, young women screamed bloody murder ON THEM and sat down in their path wearing blood soaked clothes and waving wire coat hangers symbolizing the many women who needlessly died when abortion was illegal.

Now here we are at the beginning of 2013, talking with students and everyone else we can reach, and we’re hearing over and over again, I’m pro-choice BUT if a woman chose to have sex and didn’t use birth control she should really have the baby…I’m pro-choice BUT I would never get an abortion myself…I’m pro-choice BUT some women have too many abortions…I’m pro-choice BUT I do think there should be restrictions on late-term abortions…I’m pro-choice BUT I think waiting periods are good because people should think very long and hard before they take a life.” It’s not a mystery why people would have these slave master/slave ideas and it’s not really their fault. They’ve been lied to by the growing anti-abortion movement, and the mainstream, de-mobilized pro-choice movement that is more concerned with “messaging” and keeping the Democratic Party in power over this whole oppressive system than they are with telling the truth and liberating women. But my main point here is that what’s underlying all these statements we heard from people we talked with is a belief that a fetus is a baby so it’s the woman’s role to incubate it. If she doesn’t, the woman and her abortion provider are murderers. NO! Abortion is NOT murder, and it’s this wrong and dangerous belief that is crippling people’s ability to resist and fight with real determination—the kind of determination that only comes from knowing you are right and your cause is just and ultimately liberating.

The Stop Patriarchy initiative is out to change this. We’re out to change what people think and know about abortion by telling them the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in every conversation we have, sign we hold, and flyer we write. We’re out to bring people the science of abortion because the lies are literally stealing the lives of women everywhere. That’s an important part of what we did in building up to this protest and at the protest itself, and it made a tremendous difference. Those of us, old and new, who went into this protest knowing what’s true and liberating about abortion planted an uncompromising pole of attraction for “Abortion on Demand & Without Apology” while at the same time welcoming everyone who wanted to stand together for abortion rights and against the Walk for Life.

And you know what happened? Hundreds of people recognized the truth of the chant, “Fetuses are NOT babies, Women are NOT incubators, Abortion is NOT murder!” It doesn’t rhyme, it doesn’t really have a beat, but people leaned their bodies and bright orange signs and banners as close as they could get to the ignorant walkers for “life” and yelled this chant loudly in their faces over and over again with a fierceness and joy that only comes from knowing YOU ARE RIGHT AND THEY ARE WRONG! I wish I had video of it for everyone who wasn’t there because it was beautiful in a way that can’t be described in words. It was like people had thrown off a heavy load that they didn’t even know they were carrying, and now they could dance.

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