June 2016 – Call to Action – Women Demand Control Over Our Reproduction

Women are the Experts: National Week of Action for Abortion and Birth Control
June 3-10, 2016

#thisoppresseswomen #notmyclinic #shoutyourabortion

Call to Action – Women Demand Control Over Our Reproduction

Controlling our reproduction is a basis of women’s freedom. On May 16, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Zubik v. Burwell and is expected to decide Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt next month. Whatever the outcome, the Court will change women’s access to abortion and birth control – and we’re expected to passively wait to see how our lives will be affected.

Enough already!  We demand control over our reproduction.  Join us for a Week of Action.

Speaking out is a powerful tool. In Florida and New York, we’ll host women testifying on their experiences with abortion, birth control, and pregnancy scares. We will distribute a packet on how to host a speakout- and we hope that women around the country will also organize events where women can testify on their need to control their reproduction.

Abortion rights were won by organized women- not simply given to us by the Supreme Court. In the United States, abortion rights were won by everyday women who joined together in groups and dared to tell the truth publicly about their own illegal abortions or their fears of the consequences of unwanted pregnancy.

We saw this first in New York where, on February 13, 1969, women won greater access to abortion from the state legislature after a group of radical feminists who would soon take the name Redstockings disrupted a New York City hearing on abortion reform.  The New York legislature planned to create reform based on the opinions of a panel of “experts”—consisting of 13 men and a nun. But we know that women are the experts. These feminists demandedthat the hearing members listen to the real experts–women!  Women interrupted the hearing and bravely testified about their then-illegal abortions. The women demanded what they really wanted–the repeal of all abortion laws, meaning no restrictions.  About a month later, Redstockings held its own “hearing,” an open meeting in the Washington Square Methodist Church where twelve women testified about their experiences with illegal abortion or the fear that they could be pregnant. The disruption and the hearing that followed resulted in New York becoming the first state to legalize abortion. The NY law became the model for Roe v. Wade. It was a win, but with Roe v. Wade we got reform, instead of abortion law repeal.

Their fight is still ours today. For women, the right to birth control, including abortion, is a cornerstone of women’s freedom. Women must control if and when we have children to determine the direction of our lives and be on equal footing with men. Without an organized, strong feminist movement making radical demands and keeping up the pressure, our victories have been attacked and eroded. We need to strengthen the radical movement to turn this around!

In the Zubik case, the Supreme Court was supposed to decide whether employers could completely block their employees’ access to birth control by blocking them from the Affordable Care Act’s birth control funding. The court didn’t stand with women. Instead, it ordered the government and employers back to the lower courts to find a compromise.

In Whole Woman’s Health, the Supreme Court will decide whether to permit the state of Texas to require medically unnecessary regulations that will close nearly every abortion clinic.  The Supreme Court’s decision will have reaching effects because many states have passed laws similar to the Texas law.

We are calling for a national week of speak outs for abortion and birth control, Friday, June 3rd–Friday, June 10th. Women are the experts—we know what we need and don’t need.  We don’t need additional “safety” regulations on abortion.  We don’t need employers deciding whether we get birth control. Women need unrestricted access to free birth control and abortions. Women, speak out!