From Stop Patriarchy

A Morality Based on Reality: I’m Counting on YOU to End the Attacks on Abortion Rights

August 22, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


August 7. A heroic doctor, who has been providing abortions for 40 years in Texas in the face of death threats and legal attacks, recently welcomed the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride into his clinic.  I want to share some of his stories with you, along with some reflections on morality.

This doctor told us his youngest patient was 9 years old and did not have any idea of what sex is, or what had happened to her.  She was molested by her father, and she was pregnant, and needed an abortion.  He said many more of his patients have been 11, 12, and 13 years old, and their pregnancies are—not always, but often—a result of abuse.  He also told us that in the group of protestors that regularly harass women outside his clinic, there is a woman who, whenever she gets a chance, runs inside the clinic, up the stairs, and through the waiting room, screaming, “DON’T KILL YOUR BABY!” and then runs out again and brags to her anti-abortion friends.  

Now put these things together with me.  

How is it that that side of this debate, the same side pushing through law after law restricting abortion, has gotten away with the claim that they are doing it “for the children”? How is the 9-year-old girl in the clinic in Texas supposed to feel?  These are real people.  These are not potential people, like fetuses are.  These are female children, who are being terrorized while their lives are being determined for them, on top of the mountain of abuses, such as rape and incest, being inflicted on them just for being born female.  Let me be clear: I do not hold the view that abortion should only be available in certain circumstances such as rape and incest, but I feel strongly that everyone should know, the movement to abolish abortion—with the government backing them up with court rulings and legislation like HB2 in Texas—that movement is out to abolish all abortion. So I ask you, with all the future generations of women and girls in mind: which side is the moral side? Which side should be brimming over with righteous outrage?

The doctor whose clinic we visited talked about vocal members of the anti-abortion movement, who have brought their daughters and wives in to his clinic to get abortions.  Sometimes, he said, very prominent Republicans and religious leaders, as well as anti-abortion protestors, make arrangements late at night, and bring their cars around the back, to smuggle their daughters in without anyone seeing.  They pressure doctors to write up the procedure as a result of hemorrhaging or miscarriage or whatever, and that is that. The reason I want to tell you this story is not to point to some kind of hypocrisy.  I want to tell you 1 in 3 women get abortions, that women need abortions in real life, and the “morality” of the anti-abortion movement is so disconnected from reality that even though I’m sure they hate doing it, they do it too.  I also want to tell you how this doctor handles these situations.  This clinic is not in the business of refusing services, nor does it pressure anyone one way or the other.  What they ask all their patients is, “How can we help you?”— even if they know they will see them again the next day at the gate calling the other women murderers.  So I ask you again: which side is the moral side? Which side should be brimming over with righteous outrage?

Finally, the doctor we visited told us the story of a patient he once had, who did not think she would make it to a clinic in time.  With the passage of HB2, increasing numbers of women in Texas—as well as all the states that have one abortion clinic left, and the others that are riddled with obstacles, the travel cost and time off work required, the mandatory waiting period, 20-week bans and so forth—are in this same situation.  This particular patient was certain she would not be able to get to a clinic in time, and she didn’t want to be a mother, so she injected turpentine into her abdomen, and the entire muscular structure of her torso “sluffed off.” 

I am sick of these stories.  They make me sick.  I have heard a hundred of them in the last year. They are unnecessary.  I have heard the stories of women who take misoprostol but then don’t know that the fetus dies inside you and then infects your bloodstream and kills you from the inside.  I have heard the stories of women who threw themselves down the stairs.  Teenagers making pacts: “If I ever get pregnant, punch me in the stomach as hard as you can.”  Overdosing on handfuls of pills.  I am pissed off at this disaster zone for women and I am looking everywhere for people who feel the same way, or who are open to learning why they should.

And then I read the anti-abortion articles about how “THE COAT HANGER IS A MYTH, NOBODY EVER DID THAT, IT’S JUST A FUNDRAISING TOOL FOR THE ABORTION INDUSTRY.”  I’m here to tell you, the coat hanger is real.  Not only were those dangerous and barbaric methods exactly what women were driven to before abortion was legal in this country, but that is exactly what women are being driven to right now.

What’s more, I’m here to tell you I fucking love the abortion “industry,” and you should too, solely because of what it actually is and what it actually does.  Abortion providers are heroes.

I’m here because I care about real live children, including female-born children who are subjected to crimes of misogyny in epidemic proportions, and you should too.

I’m here because I don’t think rape is excusable ever and I don’t think women should be punished by forced motherhood—for being abused, or even for having sex that they enjoy

If your moral grounding on this issue is not rooted in an understanding of the multitude of ways we have all been lied to and what is the whole truth about abortion, we will not think abortion rights are worth fighting for.  It will be easy to wait for the next election, and hope someone else might take care of it.  It will be easy to be “pro-life” while thousands of women die in agony, and slavery encroaches into our lives posing as “normal” or “inevitable.”  It will be easy to avoid confrontation and consider whether or not you “believe in abortion” to be a matter of “personal opinion.”  

But guess what?  It doesn’t matter if you “believe in abortion.”  When abortion is illegal, women die; they ARE dying, suffering irreversible injury, being threatened and criminalized right now and it will only get worse if these true stories are not told loudly and publicly, and if we all fight our ways to relinquish the responsibility to fight.  Let’s fight!  Not sometime in the future, but now.  If you care about reality, and about humanity, you have an obligation to investigate the ways you have been lied to about which side is the moral side?  Which side should be brimming over with righteous outrage? 

And when you are outraged, you have an obligation to shatter the silence that is stifling the truth, and talk to the people you know, show them a "People’s Hearing" at or at where the truth is being told, or bring them to a protest, and get on this Abortion Rights Freedom Ride in whatever way you can, because this is a national emergency.  If you are outraged, I want you by my side at the institutions that have promised to abolish abortion rights, exposing them for what they are, and demanding a better future.  I want to hear you raise your voice and I want to see you tell your stories throughout the Week of Defiance, August 25–September 1.  

I’m going with others to the Governor’s Mansion at 4pm today to tell these stories I just told you, right on his doorstep—straight through his fortress where he feels safe saying: “My goal is to make abortion a thing of the past.”  My goal is abortion on demand and without apology.  My goal is the liberation of women.  My goal is a world without patriarchy, and without any of this unnecessary oppression and seemingly endless cruelty.  My morality is based on reality, and what humanity needs to be truly free, and I have no good reason to think that there is a single Democrat in the U.S. government that fully shares that morality, so I’m just not counting on them.  If you do share that morality, or even if you are willing to listen and learn about why the stakes are so high, no matter who you are or where you come from, I’m counting on YOU.


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