Abortion Rights Freedom Ride – Ground Zero Texas

Outrageous Brutality and Cruelty Against Nonviolent Civil Disobedience

August 19, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


In this country and all over the world, women face an abortion rights emergency. The real stakes of this battle—a future of forced motherhood and female enslavement versus a future in which women are truly liberated and a driving force in the emancipation of all humanity—have become increasingly clear to the Abortion Rights Freedom Riders as we’ve travelled through Texas. It was this clarity that compelled us to act in a way commensurate with the emergency. When abortion is illegal, women die. With firm resolve, we made the decision to put our bodies and futures on the line and risk arrest on the day of closing arguments of the trial challenging some of the provisions of House Bill 2, a law set to close all but 6 abortion clinics in the whole state of Texas.

Texas governor's mansion, August 13

Texas governor's mansion, August 13

Our nonviolent civil disobedience was a profoundly moral act, supported by all those who recognize abortion as a basic right of ALL women. Not surprisingly, it was met by profoundly IMMORAL physical brutality and mental cruelty by the pigs protecting the State of Texas’ illegitimate right to make women into incubators and property of the state when they become pregnant.

When the freedom riders held pictures of women who died from illegal abortion and raised bloody coat hangers, halting “business-as-usual” by blocking traffic outside Rick Perry’s Governor’s mansion… When they refused to comply with the police order to disperse and allow the enslavement of women to go forward without serious and determined resistance, this is some of what happened:

  • The police used excessive force while cuffing and removing protestors regardless of the fact that none of the freedom riders resisted arrest. This resulted in lacerations, contusions, muscle spasms, sprains, and nerve damage.
  • The police lifted and dropped one freedom rider on the ground three times.
  • The police lifted a teenager off the ground with one hand underneath her nose, suffocating her and causing her to scream while tears to streamed down her face.
  • Another teenager was yanked up and off the street, tearing a ligament in her shoulder and requiring that she wear a sling.
  • This same freedom rider was then incarcerated and put on suicide watch, in a solitary cell, forced to take off her underwear and wear nothing but a long tank top made of stiff padding and sit on a concrete slab, for hours.
  • Several other freedom riders were also put on suicide watch and forced to undergo psychological evaluations simply for refusing to answer questions without first consulting their attorneys.  When they refused to answer the questions, they were told by the nurse that no, they couldn’t talk to their lawyer because “it didn’t work that way.” They were put in individual cells isolated from the rest of the freedom riders.
  • Another freedom rider was isolated in a solitary cell, told she would not be allowed to talk to a lawyer, and that she would be in that cell for three days before being shipped off to a penitentiary indefinitely.
  • Two guards made a bet about how much one of the freedom riders weighed and then high-fived each other when they found out which one “won.”
  • One freedom rider was asked the color of her “undies.”
  • Guards made frequent and dishonest comments about who was “cooperating” and “not cooperating” with the intention of demoralizing and breaking the unity of the freedom riders. They did not succeed. The freedom riders chanted and sang, stomping our feet in the paddy wagon and drumming on the walls of our adjoining cells.  Some of us smiled proudly for our mug shots, knowing we had done the right thing. We were willing to pay whatever price was necessary even though we were not sure how high it would end up being.

What happened to the Abortion Rights Freedom Riders pales in comparison to the foreclosure of women’s futures and lives when they can’t access safe and legal abortion. It is precisely for this reason that the excessive physical force and mental cruelty against them and all who take a stand must be opposed. Call Rick Perry's hotline at (512) 463-1782 to demand that all charges (Class B Misdemeanor Obstruction of a Highway) against the Abortion Rights Freedom Riders be dropped. Strengthen and spread this resistance by joining in the Week of Defiance with the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride and StopPatriarchy.org from August 25 to September 1.

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