On Sunday, June 19, youth with Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights held a procession past Supreme Court “Justice” Amy Coathanger Barrett's house. The youth bound their hands and muzzled their mouths with duct tape. They wore white pants streaked with blood flowing from the crotch. And they carried baby dolls. In this way, they visually exposed the horror of Amy Coathanger Barrett's callous remarks back in December of 2021 in the hearing over an abortion ban out of Mississippi that could lead any day to the Supreme Court overturning abortion rights across this country. Amy Coathanger Barrett asked how is it harmful to women to force them to give birth when, if a woman didn't want a child, she could always just drop the baby off at a fire station or hospital with no penalties.
One youth said, “We are here at Justice Amy Coney Barrett's house here today with our arms tied, with our mouths covered, holding dolls because this is what Amy Coney Barrett's America looks like. Children will be forced to give birth to children. Women will be silenced. Women will be invalidated. Women will be told they are less than. Women will be told they are inferior. And that is not okay. We cannot let that happen. So all of you who say you are pro-choice, get up and say it out loud. Get up. Take to the streets and stay. Because you cannot let this happen to your sisters, to your daughters, to your mothers! You can't let this future happen to us! It's not fair.”
In addition to the power of the visuals and the impact of going right to Amy Coathanger Barrett's home, a few things stood out. The first is the level of fury against and exposure of real barbarity against young women and girls right now. One talked about the pregnancy scare of a very close friend at 13. She cried every day for weeks and was unable to tell her parents. Her Catholic priest told her that marriage is only for baby making. When she asked about an aunt who is unable to have a baby but is still married, the priest said the marriage “wasn't biblical.” Another spoke of a friend whose father said, "If you get pregnant I am going to break your neck," and how she had to sneak around to get an abortion. She asked: If Roe were overturned, would she be living on the street with a baby she was forced to have? Would she be raising this baby as a teenager while getting beaten in her father's home?
Paxton Smith, who became well-known after she used her high school valedictorian speech to call out Texas's near total abortion ban, said she is constantly commended for her passion. But, she clarified, it is not so much that she is passionate. Rather, she is terrified. Emotion choked her voice and tears streamed down her face as she walked through some of the horror stories of near-death back alley pre-Roe abortions that women have shared with her since she has become so publicly outspoken.
Many of the youth were on fire: If I can come here at age 14 (or 15, or 17), what are YOU doing? What are YOU doing for OUR futures?
These youth answered the call to "Come to DC," put out by Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, which reads in part:
Imagine: Every day, more and more people pouring into the capital. Amassing at the Supreme Court. All night vigils. Protests. Hunger strikes. People by the thousands and tens of thousands returning day after day. The Green Bandana of abortion rights worn and waved everywhere. On Mondays, when the Supreme Court typically releases decisions, the Capitol and Court become so surrounded by masses of women, men, people of all genders and nationalities and backgrounds that it becomes clear to all in power that we will sooner bring the gears of society to a grinding halt through mass nonviolent resistance than allow the right to abortion to be taken away.
Those behind this assault are counting on our silence.
We must not give it to them.
The footage of these youth and their speeches needs to be spread and seen by many more people. Everyone needs to answer this call.