A statement issued by Sunsara Taylor, on behalf of StopPatriarchy.org, November 1st, 2013
StopPatriarchy.org condemns in the strongest possible terms the outrageous ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on October 31st which will have the effect of immediately closing down abortion services at as many as 13 clinics throughout Texas! That this ruling came just three days after a federal judge had blocked the implementation of a new Texas law that would require abortion doctors to have arrangements to admit patients with local hospitals shows how extreme and intense the fight is right now over the direction of abortion rights – and the lives of women – throughout this country.
Everyone who cares about the lives and futures of women must make their outrage heard and their resistance seen throughout this country. We must stand against this outrageous assault on the fundamental rights of women in Texas and this escalation in the national war on women.
There is absolutely no medical advantage to requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Not only is abortion an extremely safe medical procedure (10 times safer than childbirth, for instance), hospitals are already required to admit patients if an emergency were to occur. The only purpose this law serves is to close down women’s fundamental right to abortion. This law was passed with the intent of, and will have the effect of, slamming women backwards, to a time when they were openly enslaved to their ability to reproduce.
This ruling will have immediate, devastating and even lethal implications for women throughout Texas. Many women will now be forced to travel several hours on at least two days to obtain an abortion. This will concretely put abortion care out of the reach of a great many women, particularly women who live in poverty or lack transportation, are underage or have repressive or abusive partners, are undocumented immigrants who – for lack of legal papers – are afraid to travel great distances, are victims of sexual assault and other violence, or simply lack basic knowledge about their bodies and the pregnancies that might be developing within them. Starting today and every day going forward, many women who need abortions will be forced instead to foreclose their lives and have children they do not want. Other women will go to desperate and dangerous measures to self-induce abortions, risking their safety and risking criminal prosecution.
No one in any part of this country should accept this ruling. It is immoral and it is illegitimate and it must be massively resisted.
This ruling is also part of something much bigger: a nation-wide war on women. Across this country, abortion rights are in an utter state of emergency. Over 300 restrictions on abortion have been introduced at the state level across this country this year alone. More than 50 abortion clinics have been forced to close in the last three years. Five states have only one abortion clinic left. And several other states – Mississippi, Alabama, North Dakota, and Wisconsin – are all facing the same bogus “hospital admitting privileges” law that threatens to close down clinics there. Therefore, it is not only immoral to abandon the women of Texas, it is delusional to think that these outrageous clinic closings – and their devastating effects on women – will not spread if we do not stand up now!
I write this message from Jackson, Mississippi where the last abortion clinic in the entire state is in danger of being closed based on the exact same bogus hospital admitting privileges law. A trial to determine whether this law will be implemented is scheduled in March, but anti-abortion legislators have been pushing the courts to implement the law (ie: close the last clinic) while this appeals process goes forward. Yesterday’s ruling in the Fifth Circuit will undoubtably encourage and intensify their fight to make this happen.
I and others with StopPatriarchy.org have traveled here because, in addition to everything else I just mentioned, this week – from November 2nd through 6th – Operation Save America, a Christian fascist anti-abortion group, will lay siege to the last clinic here in the state. We have joined with local organizers in WakeUpMississippi and the Hell No Campaign and called on people nation-wide to join us in standing up against this assault.
Now, as we continue to deepen this fight here, we send our deepest sentiments of support and outrage to the women throughout Texas, and we call on people everywhere, in every corner of this country, to raise their voices today. Pour out to local courthouses with signs against this new ruling and insisting on “Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!” Send in video messages of support. Travel down to Texas or join us here in Mississippi.
There are moments in life where history pivots on what people do – or fail to do. We are living through such days and months when it comes to the future of women. Forced motherhood is female enslavement. A society that reduces women to breeders cares nothing for women. Abortion must be available on demand and without apology. No one can be allowed a clean conscience if they stand on the sidelines at a moment like this.