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NEWSLETTER  October 26, 2018  | By Christine Pardue
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Screenshot from a film by Erin Sheridan
We turn the evil tides

Last Tuesday, we flyered in front of that church that harasses Planned Parenthood patients, on a night when they were hosting an Italian opera. Many of the opera-goers had paid upwards of $70 for their tickets and were not interested in taking our flyers; the experiences of women, trans people, and non-binary people trying to access a deeply stigmatized, expensive, and increasingly endangered form of healthcare did not seem relevant to them that night, if ever. Which we totally understand, actually! We also know what it feels like when a group systematically shoves their ideology (for example, religious right-wing extremism) in our faces while we’re just trying to go about our business (for example, ending our unwanted pregnancies)!

Anyway!! Would it shock you to learn that on November 3 at 7:45 am, we’ll be mobilizing in front of that church again to disrupt them on their way to Planned Parenthood? How delightful is it that they get so annoyed when we make it difficult for them to….... continue making it difficult for people to get abortions? Isn’t it strange that their work to stigmatize abortion is “peaceful prayer,” but our work to stigmatize their bigotry is beyond the pale? Why can’t they peacefully pray indoors? (Just kidding, we know why.) More details are on the Facebook event here.

Also: we’re hosting a comedy show to raise funds for people in Mississippi who need abortions! It’s on November 18 at Caveat (RSVP here). Funding abortions at the grassroots level is an excellent way to turn the evil tides and not just express solidarity but manifest it and this show will benefit the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund so I guess that means we’ll see ya there!!

We read

In Texas, doctors receiving funds from the state’s women’s health care program aren’t allowed to “promote” abortions—but the law has scared doctors away from even mentioning the existence of abortion at all.

The Times made a documentary about Jane, a Chicago collective of DIY abortionists in the 60’s and 70’s. Here are two things that I can’t stop thinking about: at the time, an abortion in Chicago could run as high as $6,500 in today’s dollars. And when seven Janes were busted by police in 1972, the women tore off the pieces of paper with the names of their patients and swallowed them as they sat in the back of the police van.

Women on Web has been providing safe medication abortions by mail for years, but never to Americans (not for lack of need, but for fear of our monstrous anti-choice movement!! USA! USA!). But the founder of WoW, Rebecca Gomperts, found that the need was so great, she finally made a version of the program for us (separate from WoW, to mitigate the legal risk), called Aid Access. “I got an email from a woman who was living in a car with two kids,” she said. “Something had to be done.”

Endorsing “irregular military tactics” against abortion doctors and calling for a “Fetal Uprising” wasn’t enough to put anti-abortion nightmare Jeff White in prison, but luckily….. an elaborate con to defraud the federal government to the tune of $27 million was! He’s the sole listed employee of a group called “Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust,” which has a budget of over $270,000, but he ran his Obamacare scam on the side (busy man!) and he’s about to go to prison for at least five years.

This is a long sentence but hear me out: Women with physically demanding jobs are having miscarriages, because employers aren’t legally obliged to accommodate pregnant workers who request lighter loads as long as they aren’t also making accommodations for other workers who need them. In other words as long as companies exploit all workers, they can keep exploiting pregnant workers with impunity. One woman who miscarried is now working to unionize her former workplace.

This is an excellent snapshot of what it’s like to access care at the only abortion clinic in Kentucky and these volunteer escorts are all true heroes, but. But. That framing of  “confronting antis” vs. “focusing on the patients” again!! It’s becoming very boring. When will we decide that these aren’t fundamentally different things? And that our decades-long failure to confront antis is exactly why we are backed into a corner debating the hypothetical impacts of clinic escorting vs. clinic defense while they terrorize patients, threaten to tow their cars, block the clinic entrance, throw bricks through the window, and push legislation that could close the clinic for good pretty much any day now?

We love

Us.

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Film by Erin Sheridan
We met antis in the streets, raised a ruckus in their space, shut down Houston, claimed the sidewalk across from the clinic, exposed the men trying to pose as “sidewalk counselors,” updated the lyrics of classic Civil Rights songs with lines about abortion and bodily autonomy (“stop harassing women/we shall not be moved”), and sang them very badly but very loudly. We’ve protested this church a few times now and not to sound too woo-woo about it but every time it feels like something shifts. Forward this to someone who wants to shift something.
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