Abortion Rights Freedom Ride Send-off Rallies Held in New York, San Francisco

July 24, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


On July 23 in San Francisco and New York, there were send-off rallies for the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, now hitting the road from each coast for a month, joining together in North Dakota and culminating in Jackson, Mississippi.

NYC: Setting Out to Change the Whole Political Landscape on the Abortion Question

See also:
Abortion Rights Are at a Crossroads:
This is NOT a Time to Lay Low—It is Time for Massive Uncompromising Struggle!

by Sunsara Taylor and David Gunn, Jr.

In New York, despite at times heavy rain, a core of 50 people were joined by well over 50 others whom came for parts of the rally. Many more who were passing by stopped to check it out, listened and got flyers and stickers. Through the course of the gathering, people got a sense that something that was out to boldly change the whole political landscape on this crucial battlefront was beginning. Support for the Freedom Ride was expressed with pledges from many others "to have their backs," quite important given the ferocious attacks on abortion providers in the areas that the ride would be going. That abortion on demand and without apology is a basic right and without it women are enslaved was expressed in many ways, ranging from testimony of young women facing an unwanted pregnancy to that the doctors who perform abortions at great personal risk.

Freedom Riders and supporters at send-off rally in New York July 23 hold banner that will be carried on trip

Sonia Ossario, president of the NYC Chapter of the National Organization for Women, said, "Women's lives are at risk and this is totally unacceptable" and saluted the "fierce and tireless advocates on the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride."

A statement was read from Eve Ensler: "I am proud of the women and men who will be traveling from both coasts and down the middle of the country in this summer's Abortion Rights Freedom Ride. I urge all to follow their daring and rise with them to reclaim our lives, our bodies, our own reproductive decisions, and our futures. There is no time to waste." [see whole statement]

Carl Dix from the Revolutionary Communist Party, along with members of the NYC Revolution Club, spoke of the importance of this Freedom Ride and the connections with the battle against mass incarceration and the national outrage around the acquittal of George Zimmerman. They put it all within the context of the RCP's strategy for revolution, as concentrated in "Fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution," which sparked some significant debate and discussion after the rally.

Freedom Riders at send-off rally in New York, July 23, 2013.

Merle Hoffman, founder/president of Choices Women's Medical Center, sent a six-foot-wide coat hanger to take on the tour, representing the horror of what happens when abortion is not legally available to women. Linda Prine, Director of Women's Health at the Institute for Family Health, spoke of what it is like to provide and train medical professionals to provide abortions, and the difficulties and dangers they actually face when conducting abortions outside of New York City. She commended the Freedom Ride for "taking the offensive instead of always being on the defensive."

One woman was so moved by what she heard at the rally that she came to the stage to share the story of her best friend from before Roe v. Wade, who was raised Catholic and, when she learned that she was pregnant, shot herself and died.

Read Sunsara Taylor's blog: "1st Day on the Road with the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride".

Sunsara Taylor, a supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party and an initiator of the movement to End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women, spoke of the origins of patriarchy in class-divided society and of the vision and leadership for revolution, leading to an end to patriarchy and for the liberation of women and the emancipation of all humanity.

The grand finale of the rally was the calling forward of the Freedom Riders and of dozens of people signing up to support and "have the backs" of those leaving on the Freedom Ride. For reports on the Freedom Ride as it unfolds, click here or go to stoppatriarchy.org.



San Francisco: "Let's Not Stop Until We Cause the Whole World to Change"

From a reader:

July 23—About 40 people rallied at a San Francisco park to send off the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride. Speakers included the current and former presidents of the SF chapter of NOW, Somer Loen and Monalisa Wallace; a member of the Revolution Club; Pat Maginnis, who has been fighting for abortion rights since 1959; and Andrea Strong of Stop Patriarchy.

Alex, the rally MC, said, "We're telling the truth all over this nation, that fetuses are not babies, women are not incubators and abortion is not murder. Abortion is responsible, it's moral, it's positive, it's liberating."

Abortion Rights Freedom Ride Send-off Rally, San Francisco. Photo: stoppatriarchy.org

A young woman who is one of the volunteers for the Freedom Ride said, "I'm 17 and you want to know what really pisses me off? When the anti-abortion bigots call my generation pro-life. No! Sorry. My generation is the one that has been lied to and kept in the dark about abortion. We've been given little to no sex education and this has been systematic and widespread—even in California, sex education is a joke! We never knew what it was like to live in a country where abortion is illegal. We can't say we fully understand that. Because we never had to make the choice between submerging ourselves in a scalding bath or throwing ourselves down a flight of stairs. We never chose between bleach or Lysol. Or a knitting needle, a shard of glass, or a wire coat hanger. But we do have a choice before us. We have a choice of whether or not we're going to go back to that, and let that be our reality, or whether we're going to fight this shit and make sure we don't go back."

A Black woman who came to the rally told us: "I think shutting down all the clinics in the state makes no sense. Because that means a woman has to go to a whole other state to get an abortion. And we are talking about people in poverty. I am in poverty. I live in poverty so how am I supposed to go to another state to get an abortion? It's like they're taking away everything and blaming the problems with the economy on people on welfare. But they won't allow the people on welfare to make their own decision on whether or not they want to add to their family. So they're enclosing them in a circle that there's no escape from… Yes, I support the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride!"

Andrea Strong from Stop Patriarchy spoke about the attacks on abortion rights and the whole war on women, and said, "We carry with us not just the knowledge of the current lived experiences of women, and all the horror of that, but we carry with us the potential to transform people. To turn this whole tide around—the state of emergency around abortion rights—and to go in the face of and STOP this whole war on women. Now is not the time to give up. Now is not the time to lay low or rely on the Democrats, or to simply fight the good fight, nor to settle for anything less but the full liberation of women. Now is the time for mass and massive, uncompromising resistance. Now is the time to go to the places that are the most under attack and to launch this Abortion Rights Freedom Ride... Let's not stop until we cause the whole world to change."


Send us your comments.

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