July 1 Protests Around the Country:

STOP the Assault on Abortion Rights

Updated July 6, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


July 1 New York City STOP the Assault on Abortion Rights1

New York, Union Square, July 1. Photo: special to revcom.us


On July 1, around the country, people—women and men—took defiant and dramatic actions to oppose attacks on the right to abortion. At Union Square in NYC, dozens of people donned blood-stained white pants and carried signs of women who died because abortion was illegal or unobtainable. They told their stories. They challenged the crowd—shaking people up and signing up new activists in Stop Patriarchy. Other actions took place in Cleveland—including at St. John's Cathedral; the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and elsewhere.

From Union Square, New York City

From a member of the Revolution Club:

Union Square, NYC, July 1

New York, Union Square, July 1. Photo: revcom.us

Gerri Santoro. Rosie Jimenez. Pauline Shirley. Clara Duvall. Becky Bell. Savita Halapanavar... These are the names of REAL WOMEN, real human beings whose faces folks in New York City and across the country held on July 1 as a part of #RaiseHell J1, a day of mass political resistance to the onslaught of attacks on abortion rights! Folks lined the steps of Union Square, men, women, transpeople, wearing faux-bloody pants, and held high the coat-hangers, to represent the thousands of women who died when abortion was illegal, and what it means when abortion is illegal: women die, or their lives are foreclosed!

Why July 1? Many people who stood with us had no idea how grave the abortion rights emergency has become in the United States. Many people were shocked to hear that 6 states have only 1 abortion clinic left, 332 abortion restrictions have been proposed already this year, 50 of those bills have been codified into law. Many people did not know about these fascist women-hating laws in Kansas and Tennessee that were scheduled to go into effect on July 1. (These laws were temporarily blocked by judges, but they have not yet been thrown out and resistance is still urgently needed!)

Union Square, July 1Union Square, July 1

Union Square, July 1Union Square, July 1
Photos: Bud Korotzer

People, especially young people, could have seen this display and could have simply taken from it that the attacks on abortion, the days of the coat-hanger, were a thing of the past. BUT Stop Patriarchy made the connection over and over again throughout the protest and program, repeated by many of the speakers in different ways, that these bloody pants are a representation of the FUTURE being laid out for women in this country. BUT things don’t have to be this way AND we shouldn’t idly stand by and watch as these laws slam women back into the dark ages, relegated to the home, but that we should REFUSE to accept this future and FIGHT BACK against these morally bankrupt laws (and the ideology fueling these laws).

As women’s stories rung out, Gerri’s and Rosie’s and Pauline's and all of the rest. As people chanted with us “Fetuses are NOT babies. Abortion is NOT Murder. Women are NOT incubators,” more and more people were transformed from being folks who idly stood by, and into freedom fighters—folks listening and absorbing soon rushed to the steps and asked for a pair of pants. I recall watching a young man stand for a long period of time with a look of rage and determination—bestowed upon him a great, and amazing responsibility—to fight for the lives of women. Men wearing bloody pants who traversed the crowd, handing out flyers, passing the bucket to collect funds, inspired other men to join in this bold, uncompromising resistance. This was a sliver of a culture of resistance we need to be sparked, and today we saw the seeds of a movement that will not stop until women are treated as full human beings burst through the pavement of silence.


From a reader:

Seattle, July 1

Seattle, July 1Seattle, July 1
Seattle, July 1. Photos: Eino Sierpe

We RAISED HELLA HELL in Seattle on J1! About a dozen of us took the street during rush hour traffic and caught most people around the main shopping area completely by surprise, startled to see this group of women in white “bloody” pants and holding signs about abortion rights, and signs of women that have died when abortion is illegal. Everyone seemed to understand right away that we were pro-abortion rights, but many were confused about why we would be blocking traffic. “Wait, you have abortion rights already!” This just makes clear the urgency of protest, resistance, and changing this patriarchal culture in all cities across this country, including sounding the alarm about how serious the assault on abortion rights has become, and how much inequality and oppression still exists for women. The longer we stood firm, the more that some people seemed won over and woken up to the abortion rights emergency. At one point one of us did a mic check to tell the stories of the women that died from illegal abortion, or lack of abortion access. She ended the stories with the story of Purvi Patel, who is serving 20 years in Indiana for what was a stillbirth...and that happened within this year! You could tell that the stories had an impact on people, and it's clear that it would make a difference if many more people heard these stories!

The scene was chaotic, and part of the chaos was the police, who used their loudspeaker system on their SUV to tell us repeatedly to disperse, and then bike cops had us surrounded on both sides. We continued to stand firm, for the women who died and never had a chance to speak out, and for the hearts and minds of the hundreds of people lining the sidewalk watching what was happening with the scene we created. Seven of us were eventually arrested, and went proudly to jail, knowing that what we had done was righteous and just, and up in the face of a juggernaut of laws and restrictions that will kill women, and foreclose women's lives.

Los Angeles: Answering Stop Patriarchy's Call to Expose Christian Fascist “Fake” Clinic!

Los Angeles, July 1
Los Angeles photos from StopPatriarchy.org

On July 1st, 40 or more protesters in Los Angeles answered the call from StopPatriarchy.org to “Take Patriarchy By Storm” by protesting and rallying in front the “Avenues Pregnancy Clinic”—a right-wing religious anti-abortion center posing as a women's health clinic, located across the street from Los Angeles City College. For two hours the demonstrators—organized by Stop Patriarchy and joined by the Los Angeles Revolution Club and the Feminist Majority Foundation, and largely made up of students from several L.A. campuses—held a spirited, determined, and raucous protest, calling on people to defend a woman’s right to abortion, and sounding the alarm at the emergency situation faced by women all over the country as laws passed by a growing number of state governments are effectively closing off a woman’s right to abortion.

This fake clinic did not open the day of the protest; but they sent several young people to hold signs and pass out a flyer attacking Stop Patriarchy. They also sent an organizer from “Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust” who tried to bring a slick version of their message to passersby; and then called on the police to arrest the demonstrators. But the size and spirit of this demonstration had the day; bringing their message out to people on the street and to the drivers on busy Vermont Avenue with banners and signs, chants and a rally, a march that took over part of Vermont for several blocks, and a die-in that shut down the busy intersection at Santa Monica Blvd!

Los Angeles, July 1

Los Angeles, July 1

The demonstrators chanted “Pro-life, your name’s a lie; you don’t care if women die,” and “Without the right to choose, women can’t be free; abortion on demand and without apology.” “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology” was also the slogan on the main banner, along with another banner that read: “Women Are Not Bitches, Ho’s, Incubators, Punching Bags, Sex Objects, or Breeders! Women Are Full Human Beings!” There were many placards with the faces of women who lost their lives trying to terminate a pregnancy when abortion was illegal. There was also a poster with the picture of Dr. George Tiller, one of the few doctors who provided 3rd trimester abortions, who was assassinated by a Christian fascist while in church. Stop Patriarchy organized a number of women to dress in white with bloodstains down between their legs, and carrying coat hangers, symbolizing the awful reality that “when abortion is outlawed, women die.”

From the bullhorn the organizers exposed the nationwide emergency in the rapid disappearance of abortion clinics; and the importance of Stop Patriarchy’s summer campaign to “Take Patriarchy by Storm.” They did “mic checks” with everyone taking part, and at one point the speaker read aloud the text of the powerful centerfold from Revolution newspaper that explains the science behind what abortion actually is, and why it is not murder.

During the open mike Carol Downer spoke to the protesters. An immigration lawyer, author, activist, and founder and member of the Board of Directors of the Feminist Women’s Health Centers of California, she has been an activist in the fight for women’s access to abortion for over 40 years. When the reactionaries found out that Carol was there they were heard saying “that's her, that's her, that's the abortionist!” When Carol finished speaking the demonstrators chanted: “Abortion providers are heroes!”

One of the fake clinkcs that is targeting and preying on women.
This  right-wing religious anti-abortion center posing as a women's health clinic did not open the day of the protest; but they sent several young people to hold signs and pass out a flyer attacking Stop Patriarchy.

Nancy Aragon, West Coast National Campus Organizer for Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) also spoke. She had been instrumental in mobilizing students from the FMF groups on several campuses to take part. FMF has launched a nationwide campaign to organize student groups on the campuses to “adopt a clinic”—to defend abortion clinics that are under attack by anti-abortion reactionaries. And they are also organizing campus chapters to locate and protest these kinds of fake clinics that are targeting and preying on the masses of women.

She told Revolution that she was there “because we are sick and tired of federally funded locations that serve as fake clinics that are threatening lives, and we want to spread awareness and support all these grass roots organizations doing this work.” She said there are over 100 such fake clinics in Los Angeles alone, and they receive federal funds to carry out their Christian-fascist anti-abortion crusade. They specifically target communities that have college students, and also women of color and low income communities, where women are vulnerable, and don’t know they have choices.

Los Angeles, July 1

At one point the demonstration boldly took over one lane of Vermont Blvd., and marched several blocks up the street. Many drivers honked their horns in support. At the intersection with Santa Monica Blvd. five protesters fell to the street in a die-in, each one holding over them a placard with the picture of a woman who had died as a result of an unsafe abortion. For about ten minutes the intersection was shut down. Some of the drivers were furious; but several women drivers who’d had to wait, when they were finally able to pass, gave visible signs of support and smiled!

The whole demonstration posed for photos at the end, and cheered! It was that kind of day; something very new, inspired, and determined had just come together. There was a collective enthusiasm at what had been accomplished, and a sense that much more was possible. And nearly everyone left with a copy of the sampler edition of “Break ALL the Chains!: Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution.”

Afterwards, many of the demonstrators headed to Revolution Books, just a short distance by train. When they got on the train they chanted, passed out literature, and continued the demonstration! They then marched the three blocks from the train to the bookstore. The Stop Patriarchy organizers gave a talk for those who were brand new to the movement to End Pornography and Patriarchy about these demands, and the upcoming plans for the summer, including going to Mississippi in August. Those able to stay watched the “What Ifs” segment of the Dialogue between BA and Cornel West, and talked about BA's new synthesis and the possibilities for revolution.


Cleveland protest to stop assault on abortion rights

Cleveland photos: Special to revcom.us

It was a great day in Cleveland! We took this patriarchal shit head on! With just a couple days notice, about 10 of us responded to the call from Stop Patriarchy to PROTEST and challenge others: Will you stand up against the massive assaults on abortion rights in Texas, Kansas, Tennessee, and nationwide? Even with relatively small numbers, we REALLY stood up!

We started at St. John's Cathedral downtown at noon. This is the main Catholic Diocese in Cleveland, and we've protested there before, to take on their doctrine against abortion, birth control, and many of the other horrors they uphold for women.

We created a dramatic scene, with some of us wearing bloody white pants, Abortion on Demand and Without Apology signs, large posters of women who have died when abortion was illegal, and more. Hundreds of people on foot and in cars were confronted by our bold signs, our stickers, our words and chants, and our fliers.

St. John's Cathedral, Cleveland, July 1
Protesting inside St. John's Cathedral

Die-in at crisis pregnancy center.

Early on in the protest, a few us decided to go right into the noon mass in the Church! Even though we only got to the back pews, the whole congregation turned around, hearing our chants echoing through the Cathedral and seeing our bloody pants. "When abortion is illegal, women die!" "Not the Church, not the State, Women will decide their Fate!" Pretty quickly, we were pushed out of the church (including by at least one cop), but the point had been made! Meanwhile outside, there were lots of discussions, debates, and support.

There was lots of support among women, both in response to abortion rights, but also to the stickers and signs we had of "women are not bitches, 'hos, incubators, punching bags, sex objects, or breeders! Women are full human beings!" One older man talked about when his girlfriend was young, his mother had to drive her to New York to get an abortion, and couldn't tell the young woman's father about it. Hundreds of fliers got out and 6 people signed up for e-subs to Revolution newspaper.

Some of the younger white women really tried to avoid the whole thing, and we know that some sections of people have a better understanding of why abortion rights matter so much than other sections of people...but MOST people don't know the depth and scope of the national assaults on abortion rights. Some people initially walked by, but then when they heard the agitation from a woman in Stop Patriarchy, came back in support! There was also lots of deep antagonism. One guy said "I will kill you." Another guy agitated at us for about a half hour, saying nonsense like, "You just gotta keep your legs closed" and "Procreation, not recreation."

With all of this, there was a real ripple effect, of the bloody pants, the signs, the arguments, and It was almost like a living theater piece, including lots of chaos. It was the kind of scene that needs to happen much more!!

Then it was time to march and our next stop was just a couple blocks away. There is an "Abortion Alternative" center, or "crisis pregnancy center" inside a huge bank building downtown. So we marched there, and all of a sudden, 4 cop cars pulled up and viciously went after the young woman from Stop Patriarchy!

The main cop had been in the church when the woman from Stop Patriarchy went in, and it seems he was still pissed! He kept threatening her and threatening all the protesters who actively surrounded the cop to prevent him from harming or arresting her. This happened right in front of the big bank building where the "Abortion Alternatives" office is. So as soon as the cops finally left us alone, we had a die-in right in front of the bank building with the woman from Stop Patriarchy on the bullhorn, telling people about this phony abortion counselling center. In the midst of this, a young couple from Minneapolis came right up, took stickers, and offered their support. Other people at the various outdoor eateries downtown had also come up to us during the course of the protest to show their support. And one middle aged white man who works in the bank building came out to stand with us!

Some of us are getting together tomorrow to make plans for weekly protests in Cleveland as part of Taking Patriarchy by Storm! TBA soon, so check back for info, and join us in the streets!

San Francisco

San Francisco Archdiocese, July 1
Archdiocese of San Francisco, July 1. (Photo: StopPatriarchy)

On July 1, a group gathered at the office of the Archdiocese in San Francisco. This is the home office of Archbishop Cordileone, who has spent the last two decades working to fundraise, legislate, and indoctrinate against women's right to abortion, and the right to same sex marriage. Most recently, Cordileone has required that all teachers at Catholic schools in San Francisco sign a "Morals Clause" that denounces a whole list of activities -- including birth control, abortion, pre-marital sex, and homosexuality -- as "grave evils."

We stood at the front of the office of the Archdiocese with the faces of women who died from illegal abortions before 1973 and loudly read out the stories of their unnecessary deaths. Several people participated in this reading, and condemned the Archdiocese saying "Their blood is on your hands!" and "THIS is the project you are working on!" Then protestors took bloody coathangers and a banner reading "Forced Motherhood is Female Enslavement" and marched through the intersection at Geary and Gough, to the honks of many supportive cars, as we chanted "Break ALL the chains!" and "Abortion on demand and without apology!" In front of St Mary's Cathedral (just across the street), where Cordileone was installed as Archbishop, protesters chanted, "This church hates women!" 

When we returned to the office, people were riled up, and we had a short speak out. Women told stories of unnecessary hardship caused by the "cult of motherhood" and male entitlement, some of the trappings of patriarchy. One woman declared that she didn't tell anyone she had an abortion for 20 years, she was so convinced it was a shameful act, and that she carried that shame with her for those decades. On this day she said, "That [abortion] was the right thing to do!" and stood by her choice, as others stood with her, in the face of this institution that promotes all that shame. 

After the speak out, we planted gravestones for those who died from illegal abortions, and declared the office of the Archdiocese a graveyard for women.


To learn more about the fight to break the chains and unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution:

Break ALL the Chains! Bob Avakian on the Emancipation of Women and the Communist Revolution

A Declaration: For Women's Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity


To get involved in the summer effort to Take Patriarchy By Storm:

End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women section of this website


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