the play MOM BABY GOD, makes the case for clinic defense as part of a strategy for winning back lost ground on our rights., an activist and author of
WHEN I was 18, I accompanied my friend to a Planned Parenthood in Boston where she was getting an abortion.
A group of elderly men stood outside the clinic, holding giant doctored photos of mutilated fetuses. They accosted us as we entered. “You don’t have to do this today!” they yelled. I was so furious that I was shaking. I yelled the first thing that came to my mind: “Stop telling women what to do. You people make me sick.” He responded, “We love women! You give life! You are the most amazing creatures in the world!”
Creatures. Not humans. Not people. Not women. Creatures.
Unsurprisingly, I was angry.
As we proceeded into the clinic waiting room, I noticed bulletproof glass. We passed through a metal detector, and I had to dump out my water bottle. Confused as to why this was necessary, I asked the security guard. He explained that this was to protect against liquid explosives used by anti-choice activists. The bulletproof glass was a response to clinic shootings.
According to the National Abortion Federation, there have been 100 reported butyric acid attacks at abortion clinics in the U.S. and Canada since 1977. In one such attack in 1978, an anti-abortion activist entered a clinic in Cleveland, threw flammable liquid in the face of a receptionist, blinding her, and set fire to the interior of the building.
In 1994, anti-abortion activist John Salvi III entered two separate abortion clinics in Brookline, Mass., and opened fire, killing two female receptionists and wounding five other people.
It was not long after this that abortion rights supporters began to push for laws creating a buffer zone around clinics, designed to keep out the anti-abortion fanatics.
But now, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous—unanimous!—decision to strike down the buffer zone law in Massachusetts, anti-choice activists feel even more emboldened and entitled to bring their reactionary message to the doors of abortion clinics.
The ruling has had a noticeable impact on patient safety. According to Marty Walz, chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts, the Boston clinic has seen fewer patients and more skipped appointments since the Supreme Court decision in June.
Like many people, I am angry about the Supreme Court’s buffer zone decision. I am angry about the subsequent Hobby Lobby decision restricting birth control, which can be summed up by this equation: Corporations > Women and Workers.
Like many people, these decisions reminded me that the Supreme Court is a profoundly undemocratic institution, where an unelected group composed mostly of aging white men has the power to make decisions that effect all of our lives.
Like many people, I have been glad to see the angry response to these anti-woman decisions. I was glad to see my Facebook feed overwhelmed by outrage after the decisions. I was even more glad to see demonstrations, including a large rally in Boston organized by NARAL, which brought out over 600 demonstrators—by far the biggest local demonstration around women’s rights in years.
Since the Supreme Court decision, there has also been a renewed conversation surrounding the crucial question: “What do we do to stop these attacks?” As in any healthy social movement, there is a debate about what kinds of tactics our side should use. I want to argue for why we need protests and clinic defenses, not new legislation that expands the power of police and the state….
From a participant at the abortion clinic defense in Boston on 26 July 2014:
The event in front of Planned Parenthood was inspiring. Many women (and men) who live in the neighborhood came up to thank us for being there and to join us. Some of the bigots were so bothered by our presence that they left early.
Saturday Chores #6, July 5, 2014
This sign was all Grayson’s idea. I couldn’t stop laughing.
omg, this whole tumblr is amazing.
“A pro-choice husband/wife team from Raleigh, N.C.”
Judea Beatrice, an activist in Boston, explains why reproductive rights are planning for a protest to defend our clinics from the growing attacks by the anti-abortion right
… Our demands are free abortion; universal reproductive health care; an end to coerced sterilization; reproductive autonomy for all people, including disabled and trans people; and a safe environment in which to bear and raise children. We will also be taking a stand against mass incarceration and in solidarity with Palestine.
Planned Parenthood does not support our protest, saying that that it will create chaos and barriers to access. Other activists have voiced concerns that we will make it harder for the most oppressed to access care at Planned Parenthood.
But many of the women organizing this protest are Planned Parenthood patients. We have experienced right-wingers screaming at us as we try to get our annual pelvic exam. We are standing up for ourselves and for women around the country who need abortions and asserting that birth control is a basic right. We are not an alien group of people infringing on patient access. We are the very women who are affected by bigoted pro-lifers, acting in self-defense. To say that we are creating chaos is blaming the victim. It is blaming us for our own oppression. Right-wing terrorists are the ones creating chaos.
"When it comes to abortion in the US, theological terrorism will not come at the point of a gun, but in the cold compulsion of the law that will push women once again back into dirty rooms where the inept wait with crude implements, says Douglas Jamiel."
Like a social thermostat, the virulence of the antiabortion movement has intensified with every victory in women’s rights, its rage stoked with each instance of female empowerment and self-determination.
Today. Tuesday, July 8th. 5pm. City Hall Plaza, Boston.
Corrie Westing explains why the Supreme Court decision in favor of Hobby Lobby is about choosing corporations over women’s health—and workers’ living standards.
This is why the union movement must recognize that what are considered “women’s issues” are actually class issues. Hobby Lobby decided to come after their workers’ rights with an anti-woman message, but the consequences of this decision won’t stop at women workers. They may have gone after women in this instance, but that tack is also a cover for weakening working conditions overall and increasing the precariousness of the low-wage service sector, which is made up primarily of women and people of color.
Are you angry with the Supreme Court’s decision on the Hobby Lobby and Buffer Zone cases?
Do you feel that the court is moving in the wrong direction when it comes to women’s health and reproductive rights?
Join us on Tuesday, July 8th to speak out against this GIANT step back for women. Raise your voice to show that women ARE capable of making their own healthcare decisions without the interference of strangers on the street or their bosses.
Even here, in deep blue Massachusetts, we are not immune to right-wing attacks on our access to basic health care. The court’s decisions have reversed decades of progress towards better reproductive health. These developments are fundamentally BAD for women. It is time to be heard and to fight for what is rightfully ours.
Thank you for advocacy and support. We hope to see you there at #SupremeRally!
RSVP here: http://j.mp/1iY9nNl
When: Tuesday, July 8th
Where: Boston City Hall Plaza
City Hall Plaza, Boston, Massachusetts 02201
For once, there’s a Hollywood film that treats having an abortion not as an agonizing decision, but as a simple fact of life.
Four decades after Roe v. Wade, a film finally offers an honest, funny look at terminating a pregnancy.
A woman giving birth in America is more than twice as likely to die as a woman in Saudi Arabia or China.
… Despite the fact that giving birth in the U.S. costs more than anywhere else in the world, that’s not guaranteeing a better quality of care for women in this country — particularly for women of color. African American mothers are more than three times as likely to die as a result of pregnancy and childbirth than their white counterparts.
… It’s not entirely clear why the United States is lagging so far behind, but researchers agree it probably reflects a lack of access to health care and a high rate of unplanned pregnancies. Many women are dying from chronic health issues that are exacerbated by their pregnancies because they didn’t receive adequate care to manage their conditions beforehand. Other women lack the resources to prevent pregnancy if they’re not financially stable enough to have a child. And many expectant mothers struggle to get the prenatal care they need during their pregnancies.
Meet Bob Marshall, who wants to be the next representative from Virginia. Marshall is currently a member of the Virginia General Assembly and he has a 23-year record of saying jaw-droppingly offensive comments. In a 1989 interview, he explained that he opposes abortion without any exceptions because sometimes incest is voluntary. And more recently…
In 2010, at an event calling for an end to state funding for Planned Parenthood, Mr. Marshall suggested that women who have abortions are more likely to face “vengeance” from “nature” in children with a greater likelihood of having developmental disabilities.
“The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion who have handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the firstborn of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children,” Mr. Marshall said.
While others might call these comments “gaffes,” Marshall, bless his unapologetic heart, stands by them. “I don’t care. I mean, if I say something in public, I say it in public,” he said when asked about a few of his more controversial views recently. This comment, however, was a rare case when he tried to backtrack, saying he didn’t intend to be offensive and he has “always maintained that they are special blessings to their parents.” Yeah, I’m not really sure how that could have been misconstrued.
To his credit (or something), Marshall isn’t all talk either. During his tenure in the state legislature, he’s co-sponsored a state amendment banning same-sex marriage, introduced multiple “personhood” bills, and was responsible for that transvaginal ultrasound bill that sparked national attention a couple years ago.
He’s a Republican even other Republicans think is too extreme. But if you believe in a vengeful God who views forced childbirth as a just punishment for voluntary sex and disabled children as just punishment for ending a pregnancy, apparently Marshall’s your guy.
THE STATE of Tennessee is about to establish a dangerous new precedent in the war on women.
Both houses of the state legislature recently passed SB 1391, a bill that would sanction women’s arrest and incarceration on the basis of the outcomes of their pregnancies. If Gov. Bill Haslam does not veto the measure, it would be the first law in the U.S. to criminalize pregnant women for the use of illegal or prescription drugs.
Supporters of reproductive rights are trying to pressure Haslam into stopping SB 1391 from becoming law.
Since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, hundreds of pregnant women have suffered unwanted medical interventions, arrests and incarcerations, based on a range of flimsy assertions about the health of their pregnancies—very often without legal or medical grounding for the claim that the women were responsible for harming a fetus or newborn.
National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) compiled a groundbreaking report showing how these cases amount to what NAPW Executive Director Lynn Paltrow has termed the “New Jane Crow”—a reference to author Michelle Alexander’s best-selling book on racism and mass incarceration, The New Jim Crow.