Interview with Stop Patriarchy Student Activist

Stand Up to the Woman-Haters on the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On December 5, Revolution caught up with Luna, a student activist with Stop Patriarchy. This is a transcript of our conversation.


Revolution: You are wearing bloody pants to school to make a statement and provoke people to act around the assault on abortion rights. So we want to hear all about that. What is the message? What kind of response you’ve gotten? What inspired you or compelled you to do this? And how does this fit into the upcoming anniversary of Roe v. Wade and actions in support of abortion rights on that day? But let’s start with what it is you are doing.

Luna: So, as you said, I’ve been wearing bloody pants to school every day that I go to school, which is four days a week. And I’ve been doing it for the past three weeks now and what that looks like is—I don’t wear them on the way to school because I don’t want people to like bother me on the subway or anything or follow me or whatnot. Especially in the situation where now there is a lot of violence against abortion activists as we’ve seen.

But I get to school and I walk in, I go into the lobby and I pull out my bloody pants, which are a pair of white medical pants that Stop Patriarchy bought en masse for our July 1 Abortion Rights Rally that we had last summer and we spray painted them with red spray paint one night. So it looks like there’s blood in the crotch area and it’s dripping down the legs and it’s supposed to be like, what’s the word, a very dramatic response. So it’s not really accurate to what abortions really look like, it’s supposed to captivate you and draw your attention in. And so since I’ve been wearing them I’ve been getting some very interesting responses.

July 1 New York City STOP the Assault on Abortion Rights1

Union Square, New York City, July 1Protest in Union Square, New York City, July 1—part of national actions to stop the assault on abortion rights. Photos: Special to

Revolution: Maybe if we can just to go back to the symbolism, the point is to dramatize what happens when women do not have access to safe, legal abortion—say a woman in Texas who doesn’t have the means to travel hundreds of miles...

Luna: Yeah, it’s meant to show what it looks like when women don’t have access to abortion. And when they don’t have access they self-induce in unsafe scenarios where they could potentially lose their lives. And we have statistics of what it looked like when abortion was illegal in this country. ... We hear stories of clinics or hospitals where lobbies were filled with women every night. We don’t want to be put back to that time, but we are. We are being put back to that.

As you said, in Texas women travel hundreds of miles, have to take off work for days, find babysitters for the children that they already have, there are waiting periods—all this added stress or whatnot. What’s easier for them, for a lot of women, is to self-induce, to take up the proverbial coat hanger and to do it themselves. And that is terrifying and that’s what—when I wear these bloody pants—it looks like. That’s what is supposed to being brought across. Women shouldn’t be forced to be in this position again where they have bloody pants on, you know.

And that’s why it’s so important that I’m wearing these every day that I go to school until the end of the semester—to get people to wake up because people don’t realize. I talk to kids in school and they don’t realize the extreme situation that abortion rights are in. They know Roe v. Wade was passed 40 odd years ago and they just know it’s legal. Yeah, but there’s no access to it because clinics have been shutting down, an average of one every one and a half weeks now. That’s the rate at which it’s going. Texas is an easy case to point to in terms of how much it’s accelerated. You look at Texas in 2013, they had 40 clinics. The HB2 law1 was passed there, and the number of clinics dropped down to about 20, and now if it’s upheld by the Supreme Court in the coming months it’ll be dropped down to nine. It’ll be setting a precedent for more clinics across the South, and not just the South, but across the entire country. Laws like this are setting these standards that clinics have to live up to, where the burden is on the clinics to meet these medical standards that have been proven not to mean anything. It does not need to be a mini-medical center to do a simple outpatient procedure such as a first trimester abortion. And yet these politicians are passing all these laws that are making it so that that’s what it needs to be—this standard which is burdensome on the provider and on the woman because the provider shuts down and the woman has the burden of trying to find access elsewhere.

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And this all culminates in this whole right wing assault on women’s right to live their own lives, to decide when and how to be mothers and if they even want to become mothers period. And it’s outrageous, and it’s driven me to work with Stop Patriarchy. And when we decided to do the protest against the so-called “March for Life,” it’s what drove us to come up with this idea to wear these bloody pants every day, to go to school in them, and to make this statement. There’s a lot of potential for college students to come out on this and to mobilize on this en masse to stand up around what is a fundamental right for women.

Revolution: There are some things I want to come back to, including the larger picture that this is all a part of and the importance of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the mobilization every year of anti-abortion fanatics—really anti-women fanatics, let’s call it what it is. But before we get to that, maybe you can talk a little bit about... I’m sure our readers are curious about the response you get.

Luna: So since I’ve been wearing the pants a lot of people just stare at me, they’re not really sure what’s going on. The first day that I actually wore them, it’s kind of a funny story—I wear them and I’m aware of why I’m wearing them. But I go to class and the class goes by and at the end of class I walk out and this girl from my class runs up to me down the hallway and taps me on the shoulder and she goes, we have an emergency. And I’m like, oh my gosh, like what’s going on, I thought someone in my class had an accident, I don’t know. And she goes, it looks like you had a medical emergency, it’s going to be OK, I just want to warn you. She thought I was like hemorrhaging or something. And I was like, oh, no, no, no. And then I explained why I was wearing the pants. And she was like oh, I don’t know, I’ve worn white pants and like when I’ve gotten my period it looks like that, just not on that scale, so I just wasn’t sure. On the one hand, it’s great that she thought I was having a medical emergency and she came up and told me. On the other hand everyone else had seen me and whatever they thought, they just ignored me.

It was kind of funny ’cause then, after that I thought I should put something on the pants so that people know that I’m not having a medical emergency, but that people know it’s for abortion rights. I put the Abortion On Demand And Without Apology sticker on the pants so that people could read that and try to figure out what its all about.

But since then, now that I have the stickers on, people still stare at me. Today, actually this morning, when I went to school when I was wearing them in the elevator after everyone got out and it was just me and another young woman, she turned to me and she goes, do you need a tampon? And I was like, no this is actually for abortion rights, we’re going down to protest for Roe v. Wade, to protest the March for Life and stand up for abortion rights. And she was like, oh, and I handed her a flyer—and then she had to go to class. But a lot of people just ignore me. They’ll see the pants, some people have taken pictures of it, and then I’ll make eye contact with them and they’ll look away and they walk very fast. And it’s because like whatever they’re thinking, they’re thinking, oh wow, what is going on, or whatever it is, it’s something we can’t talk about. You see blood on someone’s pants, most people think it’s her period at first and it’s like we can’t talk about that, we can’t tell her that something’s gone wrong or something. And that ties in to the shame of a woman’s body in general, the shame of her reproductive organs and stuff.

But then on the opposite hand, I’m in a lot of very forward thinking classes so it’s a lot of people who are very open-minded in general, and they love it. Like, I walked into class early one day and this kid comes up and he goes, I love your pants. And then I was like, oh thanks, they’re for abortion rights. He said, that’s what I thought, they’re fantastic. And then I got into a discussion with the entire class about the emergency of abortion rights. And people were like, it’s crazy, like it’s actually outrageous like how backwards it’s getting.

All the kids in the class signed up, they gave me their numbers for reaching out to them about doing outreach and about how they can take this up themselves. It’s not something for just me. There’s this one girl that I know who is always like, oh, you’re such a great activist, you’re like my activist goals or whatever. And I’m like, yeah, it’s goals, but you can do this, I know you can, anyone can do this. If you think that there’s something fundamentally wrong with the way this country is handling abortion rights, then you can pick up these pants and you can put them on yourself. That scares a lot of people for whatever reasons, they’re very timid and they’re afraid to put themselves out there. But then you still see this hope, they’re like, oh, maybe I can do this, and like maybe I will do this, and then start people coming forward slowly but surely. But people are showing interest...

Revolution: I think you could maybe even pose to people, look people have somewhat gotten used to seeing me wearing these, but if more people started wearing them then they wouldn’t be able to just go about their business...

Luna: Yeah. Exactly. The second week that I wore them it was around the time that Mizzou was popping up and the Paris attacks had just happened and everything, and so there was a rally on my campus for that, where a few students had organized where they were going to be holding posters in solidarity with all the different things that were happening all around the world. And I showed up to it with my bloody pants. And this one girl was so amazed. She took a pair of pants right there. She was like... I was like, yeah, you know, if you want a pair you should take them, you should put them on, you should wear them. She was like, yeah, give me, I’m going to do it. She said I’m leaving out of the country for the next week and a half, but once I come back from Thanksgiving break I’m going to put them on. I haven’t run into her yet, but apparently she has been wearing them, which is very fantastic. The minute she saw me and the minute I explained what it was about, there was no hesitation, right away it was like this makes sense, this is what needs to be done. Which is what needs to be more of the attitude of people who consider themselves pro-choice and everything.

One thing we like to talk about when we go out and do outreach—and a lot of times we wear the bloody pants when we do outreach—is that it’s no longer good enough to just be giving a thumbs up, you know people who just smile and like I’m with you and walk away. It’s no longer good enough to be liking it on Instagram and Facebook. We’re in a situation right now where there needs to be mass political resistance, where people are in the streets saying this is not all right, that these clinics closing at a rate of one every one and half weeks is not OK. People need to stand up right now because if they don’t it’s going to be too late. And frankly it is almost too late.

Just yesterday, the Senate voted to defund Planned Parenthood. Just yesterday. And I’m sure Obama will veto it, but it’s still setting this precedent, right? It’s still setting this tone that women’s lives don’t matter, not in this country, not around the world, frankly either.

Revolution: Except maybe as baby-machines...

Luna: Yeah, exactly, to be controlled, to keep reproducing, to be slaves to their reproductive system. Beyond that, their lives don’t matter.

Revolution: When you were saying it’s not enough to like this on Facebook, it’s interesting because that’s kind of like a theme of the activists in Rise Up October against police terror, when they speak...

Luna: There’s such amazing work done from Rise Up October. So much to be learned from it, too, about how we handled going out into communities and getting people to mobilize for this and this question of which side are you on—it can be used for this too. Like, if you’re not standing up for women’s rights, for a woman to make her own decision about her own body, and then you’re on the other side. There are lines being drawn on this subject of abortion rights and on the subject of police brutality and police terror and murder. And it’s not good enough to just be sitting on the line and kind of... but this, but that, but, but, but. It’s not good enough to just be calling out on your social media sites, calling out the atrocities that are happening in this country and everything. It’s just not good enough anymore. Because look where it’s gotten us. Have things really changed?

Abortion rights are on a downhill slide right now. And it’s only getting worse if people don’t stand up for what is really a fundamental right for women to decide. Like I’ve met lots of people who are like Catholic and everything. Literally I met two people back to back the other day while I was doing outreach. One woman, I was like... I asked, what do you think about abortion rights? And she goes, well, I’m Catholic. What’s that supposed to answer for me? And then another woman right afterwards, she goes, I’m Catholic but I understand it’s a woman’s decision and I’m going to fight for that. And it was back to back, and it’s like these two different ideas about what it means to be religious. Is your religion going to hinder people from living their lives or is it just going to be something that you practice yourself?

Revolution: I think that’s interesting and important and it speaks to what you’re saying—there’s a challenge to draw a line in society, where Catholic or whatever—right is right, wrong is wrong. As we’re talking, it makes me think about that quote from Bob Avakian that we have been promoting at revcom2 about how incredible it is in this day and age there’s actually these forces who want to drive women back and that poses some bigger questions about what kind of world we’re living in and what kind of society we’re living in, what’s wrong with it.

I want to come back to the importance of drawing a broad dividing line in society around abortion rights, and protesting on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. But maybe before we get to that you could talk about how you’ve been exploring the root causes of women’s oppression, how it connects with some of these other forms of oppression, what changes you’ve gone through, and how you see changing things.

Luna: So, it’s kind of crazy. There’s a point when I was growing up, I was a Republican, right, my parents were—like what is good for our family, all that stuff. And I was in the Young Republicans in high school, like hard core believing that this is what’s right and everything. Maybe I wasn’t very religious, but like I was very much into politics and it was something that I loved to learn about and argue about.

Revolution: We were talking about that off the tape, how you were raised with a kind of mainstream Republican outlook in a Hispanic family, and later you identified as a “fiscal conservative, social liberal” Republican who was against “big government.” But things going on in the world cut the ground out from under that—including that the Republicans got so fascist. And it is interesting that when you started to question that, you started to explore alternatives outside the whole Republican/Democrat thing and get into the movement for revolution. I’m interested in how that happened—in part because it would be good to get more people to do that!

Luna: When I got into college everything kind of got thrown out the window. It was like: I don’t know what I like anymore. I don’t know anything really for sure. And then some stuff happens, I move from the school I was at in DC, take a year off, then I move up here to New York. And by coincidence, like through a friend, met the Revolution Books store, Stop Patriarchy, SMIN, the Revolution Club, the Party—the RCP. And just like, it was like a whole opening. I always knew that I kind of wanted to do activist work, but when I was in DC none of my friends ever wanted to come to protests with me or anything like that. And so it was like, oh, whatever. And then I came here and like April 14 happens and then after that there’s all this real bursting of stuff happening in New York around police brutality; it goes before that obviously, but when I came that’s when I kind of got more involved. And then I went down to Baltimore after Freddie Gray was murdered.

Revolution: Was that on your own?

Luna: With SMIN and the Revolution Club. I went with my friend and her sister. And it was just like so eye-opening ’cause I met Travis Morales and we were digging into BA (Bob Avakian) and all this stuff, and it was like a whole new world. And I’m like skeptical on this or not, ’cause like I was brought up on this idea—America is great, America is great, America is great. You know, government, you just got to get the right people in politics and all this stuff. And then that all had to be thrown out the window—like which I had already started seeing, you know, the breaks in it beforehand. But to have, like, a real explanation of it laid out nicely and, like, understandably through BA and BAsics and everything. It was just like, oh my gosh! It completely opened my eyes to so many different things. Like I would have never—I didn’t have an understanding of capitalism before that, or the roots of the oppression of Black people and women through patriarchy. These were words I’d heard before—but it was like what does that mean? I blocked out the understanding of it, and the true understanding of it too. And so I got involved and the minute I heard about Stop Patriarchy, I was, like, I want to be in that, I want to be a part of that. And so for the entire summer I got more and more involved.

And one of the really cool things that we did through the summer was Sunsara Taylor held a four-part session about the oppression of women and the roots of it. It all stemmed because a group of us were having a discussion one night and someone posed, like, where did the oppression of women come from? And we were trying to grapple with it, like, well did it come from this, and it wasn’t always around, and we were trying to figure it out. And we kind of came to the conclusion that with the emergence of the division of labor, you know masters and slaves, and everything, the division, the root of the oppression of women came about—maybe I’m not saying this correctly, maybe I still don’t have a full understanding of it. But then we had this four-part session and it was amazing to really dig into the roots of the oppression of women and where it comes from and how with the rise of patriarchy and with the rise of capitalism patriarchy rose even more and like how everything is so intertwined.

And BA has this quote, you can’t break all the chains except one, you can’t expect to free everyone but keep women oppressed3. And it’s so beautiful and it’s so true because the oppression of women goes so, so deep and it’s so, like,in every single significant sphere of life—like from a woman and her body, a woman at home, labor and everything. It’s everywhere. And to recognize that as a pillar of why this society is the way it is, along with the pillars of the oppression of Black and Brown people. It’s just something that I’ve never heard before. You see it on a daily basis when you go about your life—the little micro oppressions against women, like being at home. Like every Thanksgiving, who’s always in the kitchen cooking in my family? It’s the women. And we have a picture of it—the men are sitting down watching the football game and the women are in the kitchen doing the cooking.

Revolution: And for that matter, what’s Thanksgiving all about anyway?

Luna: Yeah, that’s a whole conversation! And it’s just like, I don’t know, from the cleaning duties that my mom assigned us growing up—like the girls were always in the house cleaning and the men were doing the hard labor outside. And you look around and it’s like, oh my gosh, like, it’s something that is so subtle and they might not be the big outward violence against women, which does happen in America and around the world. But it goes so much deeper than that. So much beyond what people recognize.

And it’s just recognizing that, and seeing it changed my way of thinking and continues to because you’re constantly learning more. You dig into this stuff and it just makes you more and more angry!

Brave protesters demanding "Abortion on demand and without apology!" STOPPED the so-called “March for Life” (march for forced motherhood), January 22, 2015, in Washington DC; 8 of them were arrested.
On the last Roe v. Wade anniversary, January 22, 2015, courageous protesters demanding "Abortion on demand and without apology!" STOPPED the anti-abortion “March for Life," in Washington, DC. The protests on the next Roe v. Wade anniversary, January 22-23, 2016, must be even more powerful. Photo: Stop Patriarchy

And more and more want to go out on this anniversary of Roe v. Wade, where every year since the first year after it was passed the “March for Life” has been going out there and spewing literal woman-hatred and getting the ears of politicians and the people where they make the laws that affect everyone’s lives. They go out there and they ship young kids who don’t know any better in from all over the country. And this happens every year and up until last year no one had ever put a stop to it. No one had ever put their bodies on the line and said this is not right—you do not have the moral high ground, you do not have the grounds to be spewing this hatred—until Stop Patriarchy did it last year, which was beautiful.

And this year, almost more importantly, we need people to come out to this because just what has happened within this past year, from the release of the fake tapes about Planned Parenthood about fetal body parts, to the attacks that have been happening the past few months, the most recent where they literally killed three people, three people died because they were just at an abortion clinic. You can’t separate that demand from the right-wing politicians who are spewing the hatred that he [the shooter] listens to—where he was mumbling about baby parts. It’s all connected.

And that’s why more than ever we need to go down to DC on January 22 to stand up for what is a right for women. If women don’t have this right they are enslaved to their bodies. And if they don’t have this right, women’s lives are at risk in so many different ways. They get locked in relationships that might be abusive or that they don’t want to be in. Their lives are, as so many people say, foreclosed on. They have a child, they can’t pursue their dreams. I think about my relatives or whatever, like my mom. She was going to go to college, she had a kid at 19 and then had seven more. What would her life had been if she had decided to have an abortion? Like, where would she be today? And people always quote this argument, but you wouldn’t be here today. It’s like, well then someone else would be in my place. Because this is a fundamental right for women and this is what is worth fighting over. If it’s not me, then it needs to be somebody else.

And there’s the question that was posed during Rise Up October of drawing the lines and everything, but also—if not now, when? And if not you, then who? Like you recognize that this is a problem, right? But you’re not going to act on that? That makes you no better than the people committing these horrendous crimes. And people get angry when you say that to them. When you say, you know what, you’re no better than the ones killing women and killing Black and Brown people if you’re not speaking up against it. Because when you don’t speak up, people don’t know what you’re thinking, people don’t know that you’re secretly supporting it with the money that you have. And we need masses amount of people!

Revolution: That’s an important point to end on—the need to stand up to the women-haters on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in DC on January 22. And people can find out about how to get involved at and at our website,!


1. See “Court Upholds Ruling Likely to Close All but Eight Abortion Clinics in the Entire State of Texas” [back]

2. “Unbelievable as it may seem, in the 21st century there are still people—including people in positions of power and authority—who are determined to force women to bear children, regardless of the situation, the feelings, and the better judgment of those women themselves. That is a way of enslaving women to the dictates of an oppressive male supremacist, patriarchal system; and that is what the cruel fanatics who are determined to deny women the right to abortion are really all about.” (from Bob Avakian, “ON ‘PRINCIPLED COMPROMISES,’ AND OTHER CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY”) [back]

3. “You cannot break all the chains, except one. You cannot say you want to be free of exploitation and oppression, except you want to keep the oppression of women by men. You can't say you want to liberate humanity yet keep one half of the people enslaved to the other half. The oppression of women is completely bound up with the division of society into masters and slaves, exploiters and exploited, and the ending of all such conditions is impossible without the complete liberation of women. All this is why women have a tremendous role to play not only in making revolution but in making sure there is all-the-way revolution. The fury of women can and must be fully unleashed as a mighty force for proletarian revolution.” (Bob Avakian, BAsics 3:22) [back]



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