From Cleveland to Chicago! East Coast Caravan Report Back

By Riley Ruiz | August 4, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Members from the Chicago chapter of Stop Patriarchy as well as others organized an incredible stop. We began with a rally in Congress Plaza, utilizing our ‘Abortion Providers Are Heroes’ banner for people to sign with statements of support. We had powerful speakers, including a woman who spoke about her illegal abortion in the '60s, and the horror that was getting an abortion at that time, not knowing whether or not you would come out of it alive. She came out in solidarity with the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride because she believed deeply that women should never have to go through what she went through, just to obtain a basic procedure.

A young woman, from a poet collective, performed an amazing poem which spoke to the way women are viewed and treated throughout society. The reality of how used and abused so many women are, and the way that could be so radically different.

We marched down to Millennium Park, where lots of people stopped to check out who we were and to sign the banner. We got some great interviews with supporters, took photos at the ‘Bean’, and worked in an interview with a Kansas City radio station which is having us on every week to hear about our progress.

While talking to people at the ‘Bean’ a man lifted up his child shouting down what we were doing, and I confronted him as he began recording us. I explained how great it can be for people who want to have children, to have children, but for those who do not want children, that being forced to have one is a form of enslavement. He had the typical argument that no one is forcing the woman to have sex, to which I replied that children should never be punishment for having sex or a ‘consequence.’ He pulled back and then argued that women should be more careful and always use birth control, to which I replied, no form of birth control is 100% effective and on top of the attacks on abortion rights there are also attacks on birth control. He pulled back once again and said that women should just give the babies up for adoption. This argument is also a very common one and our response to this needs to be clear: We are not talking about babies here. Most abortions are performed in the first trimester, and at this stage in pregnancy the fetus is barely anything. Even up until the final stages of pregnancy, a fetus is still a subordinate part of a woman’s body and has no right to take over the life of a woman without her permission. It is as simple as that. We are talking about control over women; forced motherhood is female enslavement and we are out to fight against this, and every way it manifests itself. The man could not respond to this and simply said, agree to disagree and walked away.

We were in the process of leaving the area at this time so I could not attempt to continue the conversation but this does reveal something very serious. People are all taught almost the same things; the same arguments are always made. It is so important that we be out in a big way through this ride, resetting the terms, and making people really look at how they think about this question of abortion. Women’s lives are at stake. We have right on our side and we will continue to go out and spread this broadly so that this question becomes more and more rooted in the truth and reality.

Report back from our quick stop in Madison with members of the Madison chapter of NOW coming real soon!

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