Clinic Closures, Terror, and the True Emergency Facing Abortion Rights
It's WORSE Than You Think—We Must Act to Stop It NOW!

by Sunsara Taylor | March 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


On March 6, the last abortion clinic in the impoverished Rio Grande region of Texas stopped providing abortions. Today, any woman there who needs an abortion must make a 300-mile round-trip to the next closest clinic. Many will never make that trip. Instead, they will be trapped in abusive relationships, be driven (deeper) into poverty, or take desperate measures—like prostitution—to support a child they did not want. Others will die attempting to self-induce abortions.

Just last year, Texas had 44 abortion clinics. By September, if nothing changes, there will only be six. But, as harrowing as that is, this problem is not restricted to Texas.

It’s WORSE Than You Think

San Francisco, January 2014, Photo: Special to Revolution

203 abortion restrictions have been passed in the last three years. Three abortion clinics have closed in Ohio since last summer. Two have closed in Virginia. Michigan went from 19 abortion providers in 2009 to just six by 2011. Arizona lost 12 abortion clinics since 2010. Pennsylvania lost five. Five states have only one abortion clinic left and one of those states—Mississippi—is in danger of losing even that clinic; on April 28, the same Federal District court that upheld the clinic closures in Texas will rule on a similar law which would close the last clinic in Mississippi.

On March 3, a clinic in Montana was so viciously vandalized that it has been closed indefinitely. Last year, a man attempted twice to burn down a Planned Parenthood in Missouri and another man was convicted of planning to assassinate an abortion doctor in Wisconsin. In total, eight doctors and staff have been murdered for providing abortions.

Already, women across the country who cannot access safe abortions are attempting to self-abort. They are inserting sharp objects up their vaginas, taking pills, asking their boyfriends to beat them up, throwing themselves down the stairs, drinking dangerous amounts, and more. A study done in 2012 found that 12 percent of women near the Mexico border who came in for abortions had already attempted to induce their own abortions but failed. Now, with the clinics near them in Texas closed, that number will inevitably rise.

This Must Be Stopped!

New York, March 8, 2014, International Women's Day. Photo: Special to Revolution

If this war on women is not directly confronted in its totality, if it is not called out and opposed in uncompromising terms, and if it is not massively resisted and decisively defeated very, very soon, a new and horrific “normalcy” will be hammered into place. Backed up by the weight of thousands of years of tradition’s chains on women, the growing strength of Christian fascist theocrats, and the crushing force of the state, women’s lives are being foreclosed and broken and the future of all women is at risk.

What is needed right now is a massive outpouring of rage. Everyone who does not want to see women forced to have children against their will, who does not want to see women forced into a position that is tantamount to slavery, must act to stop this now.

Relying on the Democrats Has Proven Deadly

By “act,” I do NOT mean give money to a political action committee, or campaign and vote for a Democrat. This is what pro-choice people have done for decades and this has caused incalculable harm. The Democrats have done nothing to stop the assault on women. Instead, they have repeatedly ceded ground to the Christian fascists who are attacking abortion and accepted the terms set by these woman-haters as the “common ground” on which to differ and contend.

Hillary Clinton, the much-hoped-for presidential candidate within the official (i.e., bourgeois) “women’s movement,” has said, “I for one, respect those who believe that there are no circumstances under which any abortions should ever be available.”

Excuse me? People who are fighting to end all abortion in all circumstances deserve as much “respect” as those who fought for Jim Crow segregation. It doesn’t matter whether they are “sincere” in their beliefs, they are WRONG and they must be uncompromisingly opposed.

And it is not just Hillary. Wendy Davis, the Texas state senator who staged the now-famous filibuster which—we must remind all those now vesting their hopes in her—did not stop the law which is responsible for all the clinic closures in Texas, has said she would support a ban on abortions at 20 weeks. Obama has repeatedly insisted on seeking “common ground” with those attacking abortion.

But, while the approach of these Democrats has done nothing to challenge the framework of the anti-abortion forces, it has done enormous damage by influencing millions of pro-choice people to be morally and politically defensive about abortion. Today, almost no one under thirty has ever heard anyone speak of abortion as something central and necessary to women’s liberation. This has left them passive and defensive in the face of a relentless war.

The truth is that, for reasons that are gone into in A Declaration: For Women’s Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity, the dynamics driving this war on women are much deeper than who happens to be elected to office at any given time. Owing to the changing position of women in society within this country, and all over the world, as well as other major economic and demographic shifts, every major force within the ruling class of this country feels the need for a greater role for religion, a return of “traditional” patriarchal values and family, and severe cut-backs to social programs. They differ over the degree and the pace of changes that are needed, but none of them are operating out of the desire to reverse this war on women.

Fundamentally, what all this points to is the need for a total revolution. It also underscores the need to rely on ourselves.

Emergency Actions April 11 and 12

By “act,” I mean we must go into the streets, confront and call out those driving this war on women, and fight with many others to join us in doing the same. It is also only in this way that we can bring forward the level of resistance that can stop and reverse this war on women.

We must tell the truth: Forced Motherhood Is Female Enslavement! Abortion must be available on demand and without apology!

We must do this not because it is “where most people are at,” but because this is the truth and it represents the urgent and fundamental interests of women. Those who agree—and there are a great many but they have been suppressed—must be rallied to stand up and give voice to this now. Those who don’t agree need to see this argued for and acted on, over and over again, until they change their thinking and join in this struggle.

This is why Stop Patriarchy is uniting people from many different perspectives—religious leaders, figures from the women’s liberation movement, students and others—for two days of emergency action on April 11 and 12.

On Friday, the 11th, we will bring alive in public testimony the truth of what happens to women when abortion is not available—the women who will die, the lives that will be foreclosed—and expose the full agenda of female subjugation that drives the anti-abortion movement. This should happen on campuses and in theaters, in religious institutions and on street corners, among gatherings large and small. People should tell their own abortion stories—both from before Roe and more recently—or go to the website to find the stories of others to read out loud. Students and others should transcribe interviews they do with people about their abortions and send them in to be posted, or send in their own. Together, we will bring alive the lives of, and repercussions to, women which all too often are left out of this fight.

Then, on Saturday, we call on everyone to join us in staging militant protests across the country right in front of the institutions and forces behind this war. Gather wearing shackles, representing the enslavement of women. And raise coat-hangers dripping with blood, representing the 47,000 women who die each year from unsafe abortions and the lives of women in this country who will die if this war is not stopped. After an hour of silent protest, we will break the chains and recite a pledge to resist—and a call for others to join this resistance—until we defeat the entire war on women.

This is the time for uncompromising truth-telling and militant protest. This is the time to expose the complete immorality of the anti-abortion movement and to seize the moral high ground back for women’s liberation. It is our responsibility to stand up and to call forth thousands, and soon millions more to actively resist. We must act now to reverse these attacks and defeat this whole war on women.



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