Drawing Attention to the Abortion Rights Emergency at UC Berkeley

December 1, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader:

After watching the discussion between Sunsara Taylor and Dr. Willie Parker* at Revolution Books, we decided that there needed to be a quick and dirty protest at UC Berkeley to draw attention to the emergency situation unfolding around abortion rights. We sent out a mass email, called the folks we knew, and tried to call on the women's studies department and others to take part.

Five folks who had been around the movement for revolution and two who are fairly new to it went out to the center of campus with a banner that read "Abortion Rights Emergency; Texas—Mississippi—Albuquerque; Stop the War on Women," Revolution newspaper, and a banner for students to sign. We agitated at the lunch rush about the speed at which this essential right is being stolen from women, that this was about, as Sunsara Taylor said in the discussion, whether women will be seen as full human beings or reduced to breeders.

We also talked about how this was part of a larger war on women and a system of patriarchy that could only be done away with through revolution. We distributed palm cards for the upcoming showing of BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

The response from students, women in particular, was positive—many coming over to find out more, to sign up, and to sign the banner. One woman, who was walking with her daughter, responded to the agitation that this would mainly affect poor women and women of color and would steal their futures and foreclose on their lives. "FUCK THAT! That's what I'm gonna write on this banner." Her daughter invited us to speak to her women's empowerment group on campus. A young man said he really agreed with the main message: "People shouldn't be able to impose their religion on other people, the separation of church and state is so important." A lot of people, women in particular, were attracted to the banner and some took pictures.

There was one very enthusiastic young woman who had a lot of agreement, but as we talked she had a lot of questions as well. "Why do we emphasize abortion so much? What about contraception?" "I can get behind the abortion on demand, but I don't know about the 'without apology' part, what if the woman regrets it." She was confusing, as many people do, the strong feelings related to making a major life decision with the guilt that comes from feeling you've done something morally wrong, which comes from the propaganda that you're killing a baby. "It's really good what you're doing, but what people need to be doing is dealing with those Republican states, because we all agree here." Just as we were explaining that there is actually a lot of confusion about abortion and why it's worth fighting for, a young Asian woman with a cross on her neck came up literally crying and asking how could we be saying what we're saying, "I'm a straight-A student, and if my mom had had an abortion, I wouldn't be here." I guess the bad students should have been aborted.

One Latino guy was very concerned with the anti-science part of the fundamentalist movement, spreading ignorance, but saw it too much as being the fault of the Republicans. We talked about how the Democrats have mainly been going along with this and consciously not mounting any serious fight to halt it.

We were able to meet up with a couple students later that evening off of this protest, one of whom, an atheist religious studies student, has started BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, and is reading Bob Avakian's Away With All Gods! They were both very excited about the showing of REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and took cards to turn some friends on to the film.

* Editor's note: Dr. Willie Parker is one of the two heroic abortion doctors who regularly fly to Mississippi to provide abortions. On October 27, Dr. Parker (via Skype) and Revolution correspondent Sunsara Taylor discussed this state of emergency and what people can do to turn the tide. The video is available at http://vimeo.com/77949722. Readers should also check out the "Revolution Interview: Dr. Willie Parker, Doctor at the Last Abortion Clinic in Mississippi" by Sunsara Taylor. [back]

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.