Six Reasons Stop Patriarchy Is Going to Mississippi for Abortion Rights


by Sunsara Taylor | July 27, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Abortion rights are absolutely essential if women are to be free. The fight over abortion has NEVER been about “babies,” it has ALWAYS been about control over women. Fetuses are NOT babies. Abortion is NOT murder. Women are NOT incubators. Forcing women to have children against their will is a form of enslavement.

However, there is a vicious and escalating assault on abortion all across this country. In Indiana, a woman is sitting in prison for 20 years for allegedly inducing her own abortion. Six states have only one abortion clinic left. Over 330 laws restricting abortion have been introduced—and 50 laws have been passed nationwide already this year. Just over two years ago, Texas had more than 40 abortion clinics, now it has less than 20, and laws are now on the books that could close all but eight of them. Religious anti-abortion “Pregnancy Crisis Centers” outnumber abortion clinics in this country 3 to 1. In every part of the country women and staff who enter abortion clinics are shamed, harassed, and threatened.

Stop Patriarchy is mobilizing a national counter-offensive against this entire vicious war on women and is calling on people from around the country to join us in Mississippi from July 31 to August 9 to stand up for Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!

Why Mississippi? Because the situation around abortion rights in Mississippi is emblematic—and in many ways, a concentration—of the entire national emergency facing abortion rights.

Here are the top six reasons:

1. Mississippi has only one abortion clinic left!

Stop and think about that. One of the most fundamental rights that women need in order to decide the course of their lives is literally out of reach of huge numbers of women in Mississippi already.

2. Mississippi is in the heart of the Bible Belt.

It is in a place where religious fundamentalism—with its traditionalist teachings about “women’s place” and its suppression of basic science (around reproduction as well as basics like evolution)—is even stronger than in much of the rest of the country. For this reason, women are burdened by even greater isolation and shame for exercising reproductive control over their lives through abortion and birth control. This shame and stigma and enforced ignorance must be shattered!

3. Mississippi is in the heart of the Lynching Belt.

Mississippi was at the heart of the enslavement of Black people for centuries in this country, followed by a century of neo-slavery and lynch-mob terror. Then, it saw some of the most vicious white supremacist backlash against the Civil Rights movement, as immortalized in Nina Simone’s scathing song, “Mississippi, Goddam.” Today, tremendous numbers of Black people in Mississippi remain trapped in poverty, caught up unfairly in the criminal in-justice system, and are locked out of decent healthcare—including reproductive healthcare. The women who are most disproportionately affected by the lack of abortion access in Mississippi are Black women who have suffered multiple forms of oppression for centuries. This is unacceptable and it is everyone’s responsibility to stand up and fight against this!

4. Mississippi has already passed a fascist law that effectively means that no other abortion clinic will ever be allowed to open in Mississippi.

In 2012, a law was enacted that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. This is completely medically unnecessary and was designed to shut down the last clinic. Not only is abortion incredibly safe (ten times safer than childbirth), in the extremely rare cases where hospitalization is needed, hospitals are already required to admit the woman whether or not her doctor has admitting privileges. As expected by those who passed the law, no hospital would grant admitting privileges to abortion doctors.

In July of 2014, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the law was unconstitutional as applied to the one clinic left in the state. This is what has allowed that last clinic to stay open. However, this court also ruled that this law is constitutional for all future abortion clinics in Mississippi. Given that no hospitals will grant these admitting privileges, this effectively means that no one will never be able to open a new abortion clinic in Mississippi even if they had enough courage and resources to do so.

5. What happens in Mississippi will affect what happens to abortion rights nationwide.

The state of Mississippi is still trying to close this last clinic. It has asked the Supreme Court to overrule the Fifth Circuit Court and instead decide to close the last abortion clinic in the state. Disturbingly, during its last session, rather than dismissing this out of hand, the Supreme Court kept this option open.

In other words, the future of the last abortion clinic in Mississippi is still “in play.” Even more ominously, if the Supreme Court does decide to close this clinic down, this could set a whole new legal standard that makes it possible for anti-abortion fascists to restrict abortion even more drastically all across the country!

In contrast, building massive resistance to this attack and taking back the moral high-ground from those who want to enslave women can be part of setting a new tone of defiance for people around the country.

6. The last clinic in Mississippi is filled with courageous fighters and when people fight back like this, they should NOT be left on their own!

Abortion providers everywhere are heroes. They put their lives on the line to give women the opportunity to decide their own reproduction and the course of their own lives.

At the same time, there is something truly special about the people at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization (JWHO). The owner of the clinic, Diane Derzis, re-opened and came back even stronger after another clinic she owned in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed and members of her staff were killed and maimed. When the last clinic in Mississippi, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, faced escalating harassment from fascist forces nationwide, she painted the entire structure bright, vagina-pink as an act of in-your-face defiance. JWHO’s most well-known doctor, Dr. Willie Parker, relocated his entire practice to the Deep South to focus on serving women—especially Black women—who need abortions, when most other doctors are too scared to do this work. He has been incredibly outspoken, coming to the aid of other abortion providers under attack and modeling a morality that puts the needs of women everywhere above his personal safety and comfort. And the staff and escorts at JWHO have an extraordinary fighting spirit—not only showing up every day to shield women from Christian fascist haters and threats, but traveling to other states to stand with other clinics under attack.

When people display this kind of principle and courage, especially when they do it right on the very front lines and at a time when too many others are instead choosing to “lay low,” it is imperative that others stand with them!


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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