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 (view as PDF)

National Women’s Liberation Speakout Kit (view as PDF)

Recommended Readings

To be free, women must control our reproduction. In May, the Supreme Court decided Zubik v. Burwell and is expected to decide Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt in June. Whatever the outcome, the Court will change women’s access to abortion and birth control—while we’re expected to passively wait and see how our lives will be affected.

Enough already!  We demand control over our reproduction.  Join us for a Week of Action to speak out about our experiences using birth control and abortion.

Speaking out is a powerful tool. In Florida and New York, we’re organizing speakouts about birth control and abortion, to address why access to both is critical.  We encourage women around the country to organize events where women can testify about their need to control their reproduction.

We are often taught that the Supreme Court “handed down” abortion rights.  This is false.  Abortion rights were won by everyday women who joined together in groups and dared to tell the truth publicly about their illegal abortions and their fears of the consequences of unwanted pregnancy.

We saw this first in New York where, in 1969, a group of radical feminists who would soon call themselves Redstockings disrupted a hearing on abortion reform.  The New York legislature planned to create a new law based on the opinions of a panel of “experts”—consisting of 14 men and a nun. The feminists proclaimed what we know to be true—that women are the experts. The women insisted that the hearing members let them testify and demanded what they really wanted: the repeal of all abortion laws, meaning no restrictions.  Redstockings then held its own hearing, an open meeting in Washington Square Methodist Church, where twelve women testified further about their experiences with illegal abortion and the fear of an unwanted pregnancy. The disruption and the grassroots hearing that followed resulted in New York becoming the first state to legalize abortion.  

It was a huge win for women, but it was a reform.  Abortion was permitted but with certain restrictions and guidelines, guidelines that would become the model for Roe v. Wade, and guidelines which continue to grow, change, and dictate women’s ability to control our reproduction.  What we needed then, and what we need today, is full abortion law repeal. (Read more about abortion law repeal here).

Their fight is ours today.

In Zubik, the Supreme Court was supposed to decide whether employers could completely block their employees’ access to birth control under the Affordable Care Act.  In mid-May, the Court avoided deciding the issue, and instead sent the case back to the lower courts to work out a compromise.  Women’s ability to obtain free birth control remains in limbo.

In Whole Woman’s Health, the Supreme Court will decide whether Texas can enact medically unnecessary regulations so burdensome that they will close nearly every abortion clinic in the state.  The Court’s decision will have far-reaching effects because many states have passed similar laws.

The right to birth control, including abortion, is a cornerstone of women’s freedom. Women must control if and when we have children so we can 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.  The restrictions and guidelines have expanded and made abortion increasingly inaccessible. We need to strengthen the radical movement to turn this around!

We are calling for a national week of speakouts and testifying about women’s experiences with 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 abortion without delay. Women, speak out!