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Wake Up:

Stop Relying on Elections. Stand Up and FIGHT for Abortion Rights and Women's Future!

Editors’ Note: This is the text of a speech given by Sunsara Taylor at the December 1 protest held by Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, as part of protests that day in different cities across the country, in front of the downtown Los Angeles federal courthouse.

Sunsara Taylor, Rise Up for Abortion Rights, December 1, 2022


Sunsara Taylor, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, December 1, 2022    Photo: RU4AR

One year ago today, the highest court in the land, in the most powerful country in the world, convened to hear the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, that went on to overturn 50 years of protections for abortion rights in this country. On that day, the fascists on the Supreme Court talked about women's lives with all the piousness and cruelty of medieval high priests.

Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas, for example, openly agonized over how to weigh the value of a full-grown human woman with that of a clump of cells growing inside her. Think about the barbarity of that and the thousands of years of brutality and violent degradation it flows from. Think of the centuries of women in every part of the world who have been treated as property of men. Think of the women who have been shamed and outcast and even killed if they didn't bear children. Think of the women who were murdered through the ritualized violence of men gathering to all join in throwing stones at the woman if she could not produce a bloody sheet on her wedding night to prove that she was a virgin before marriage, because then it would be unclear whether the children she bore belonged to her husband. And no, don't think only of the fundamentalist fanatics in Iran or Afghanistan—this is what is commanded in the Christian Bible, in Deuteronomy 22: 13-21. And it is a tradition echoed to this day in this country's cult of “purity rings” and the virginal white wedding dress. It is still with us.

Think what it means that people who can even think to ask such questions are allowed to sit in judgement of the half of humanity that is born female.

What kind of a society is this? What kind of world is this? And why should we put up with any of this for one second more?

Unbelievable as it may seem quote from Bob Avakian


This is why one year ago I came together with others from very different political perspectives to start Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. Because we could see where this was headed, and it had to be fought. Because FORCED MOTHERHOOD = FEMALE ENSLAVEMENT.

And we could see, as well, the craven, unconscionable capitulation of the so-called pro-choice movement and the Democratic Party they are slavishly tied to. They didn't even pretend they were going to fight this. Instead, they said no big deal if we lose Roe—we'll spread the abortion pill, we'll help some women travel, and we'll prepare for a long-term election strategy to win this right back over decades.

And these very same voices are today out there telling you to celebrate the so-called great wins for abortion rights in the midterm elections because in a few states where abortion was specifically on the ballot—including here in California—voters supported this right.

This is WRONG! You can only claim that abortion won if you are willing to adjust to, accept and erase the fact that 22 million women and girls across this country have lost the right to abortion. You have to ignore the women in Ohio and Texas and Missouri and Idaho and South Dakota and Kentucky and Wisconsin and beyond who are being sent home from hospitals as they bleed out and risk infections or death from miscarriages! You have to accept and ignore the 17-year-old living in her car, the 30-year-old with four kids already and a boyfriend who hits her, the woman with plans to go to college or pursue her passion for music—all these women and countless more having to foreclose those plans, being driven deeper into poverty, tied even more desperately to their abusers, being told that their hopes and dreams and aspirations for her life mean nothing—because if she becomes pregnant, even if she doesn't want it, she will be forced by the state to have a child against her will. This is going on right now. This is happening now. This is not a “win.” It is intolerable.

And it is delusional. Because even where abortion is protected at the state level, this can be undone in a second by a federal abortion ban or a ruling from the Supreme Court. Which is exactly what the fascist movement that has clawed its way into controlling the Republican Party and the Supreme Court and which has a social base of millions of crazed, violence-prone fanatics is intending to do. They make no secret of their intent to criminalize abortion everywhere, as well as go after birth control. And this is only part of the horrors they are pushing—white supremacist, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, anti-semitic, climate-destroying, election-denying horrors.

It is time for the decent people of this country to: Wake Up!

The Democrats are not going to wage the fight that is needed. They refused for 50 years to codify Roe. They spent decades seeking “common ground” with those attacking abortion. They refused to call you into the streets when the Supreme Court made clear they were on track to overturn Roe. But it is not just that they refuse to wage this fight. They are terrified of you waging this fight, and so are others in the so-called movement, which is why some of them so viciously attacked Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights over the summer when we were leading tens of thousands of furious young women and others in the streets. It is why they attacked me, and it’s why they went with special venom and lies in their attacks against the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian.

You see, the Democrats are part of the system, the ruling class. They are trying to heal the divides in this country, even as it means working with and capitulating to fascists. They are determined to rely on—and rope you into relying on—the very structures and norms and electoral process of this system that the Republican fascists are aggressively ripping up and refusing to be bound by.

BAsics 3:12 quotation by Bob Avakian


But our interests—and the interests of generations of women and girls to come and of justice overall—lie in stopping this onslaught and that is going to take a fight.

It is going to take calling out our sisters and our mothers and our daughters and people of all genders who care about justice into the streets to raise bloody hell, to put it on the line, to unite all who can be united from diverse perspectives and backgrounds, to unleash the pent-up fury of millions and millions of women and girls against thousands of years of patriarchal degradation and enslavement. It will take struggle like our sisters are waging in Iran right now and that needs to go further as well. It will take demanding: LEGAL ABORTION ON DEMAND AND WITHOUT APOLOGY NATIONWIDE AND AROUND THE WORLD.

And it is going to take lifting our heads and daring to ask and debate why this is happening, where it comes from, and what it will take to end these thousands of years of patriarchal enslavement once and for all.

For my part, I come at this fight with the understanding that it will take a real revolution. I am a proud follower of the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian. And I want to tell you, sisters and brothers and beautiful people, that there is nowhere more important to go to understand why we are in the situation we are in today and how we can bring about a future worthy of humanity, why this will take a revolution and why we are in a time when this revolution is possible, than the recent interview I had the honor of conducting with Bob Avakian on The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show that I co-host with Andy Zee. If you care—and you do—take the time to watch it at You will meet an extraordinary revolutionary leader with tremendous heart for humanity, scientific rigor, and principle. Your sights will be lifted to a world where never again are women controlled, subjugated, raped, insulted, terrorized, shamed, spit upon, stalked, reduced to breeders, pimped out, beaten down, or treated as less than fully human. Where this is written into law and backed up by the educational system and culture—but more than that, where the fight against all of this is a driving force in the fight to overcoming all forms of exploitation and oppression for all people all over the world.

There is urgency to getting into this—just as there is urgency for all of us, those of us convinced of the need for revolution and those who are not, those who will vote for the Democrats and those who will rail against them—to stand together now in these streets, refusing to accept or adjust to growing horrors by the day. It is time for vigorous and principled debate over the way forward as we stand shoulder to shoulder in the streets declaring:

We Won't Go Back!

Fetuses are NOT babies.

Abortion is NOT murder.

Women are NOT incubators!

Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights!

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