From Stop Patriarchy blog

The snow couldn’t stop us! 41st Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade day of action in New York City

January 23, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


At St. Patrick's CathedralAlthough the extreme weather prevented the New York City contingent of Stop Patriarchy from going to DC to oppose the March for “Life,” it did not stop us from taking to the streets for Abortion on Demand and Without Apology on the 41st anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. It was a bitter cold day in the city, but our spirits were high as we started the day in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a Catholic church which has spearheaded the attacks on women’s right to abortion and birth control. The midtown area attracts tourists from all over the world, and so we had a very diverse audience as we chanted our slogans: Without this basic right, women can’t be free, abortion on demand and without apology; Forced motherhood is female enslavement; Stop the war on women; Fetus aren’t babies, Women are not incubators, Abortion is not murder. We also did a mic-checked “teach-in” reading from our wonderful banner which reads “Fetuses are Not Babies” and has a full scientific explanation of what a fetus is and is not, how it develops, what is looks like, and why it matters to know the truth about this!

Many people stopped to support what we were doing, including a young man who supported the cause overall but felt as though there should be a line drawn when it came to late term abortion. We explained to him that fetuses are not babies, they are a subordinate part of a woman’s body until it is born. That a fetus is completely dependent on the woman, and when this potential person is deemed a full human being before it is even born, this says that a woman’s life only counts insofar as she acts as the host. In other words, if you say a fetus is a person, with rights of its own, then the woman does not have rights over her body. After hearing this argument the young man felt as though he had been enlightened on a whole different and very meaningful level. He thanked us for this explanation and promised to tell others and write about this experience later.

Another supporter, an older woman, approached us asking if we were with NARAL, explaining that she is a frequent donor of this organization. We explained that our movement and message are different from NARAL. We then compared and contrasted the two approaches of, on the one hand lobbying Congress, working with the state, and softening the terms of the debate; and on the other hand, our approach of relying on ourselves and building up the kind of movement that is resetting the terms societywide, re-seizing the moral high ground, and making this a question about women’s freedom versus enslavement. The woman was extremely pleased to hear about this movement and agreed that what we are doing is what is really needed.

After about an hour of this, we went for lunch nearby, where we had some great discussions, including on the role of the church and the state in this society, and their relationship to each other. How this so-called ‘separation’ between church and state has become less and less the reality, as the church has had a major impact on women’s right to abortion, especially in the past few years. 

Grand Central StationOur final action was a flash mob which took place in Grand Central Station. We entered the main concourse, found a central location, took out our Abortion On Demand posters, and began a mic-check, which consisted of an explanation of why we were acting on this day, and why others need to stand up for abortion rights, now more than ever. At one point there was a wall of people taking videos and photos, along with a wall of police officers. We were allowed 15 minutes of chanting, and so we took advantage of every moment. Ya, 15 minutes, in a public space. That is a whole other topic of discussion…

Although we were unable to directly oppose the March for “Life” we took out the message of Stop Patriarchy to the people of New York as a part of resetting the political terms around this fight for abortion rights, and we hope this will inspire others to stand up for Abortion on Demand and Without Apology, because there IS an abortion rights emergency, and it is up to us to take a stand, and ultimately STOP this whole war on women!

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