In 2019 so far 15 states have introduced legislation which seeks to ban abortions within the first 6 weeks of gestation. From Ohio to Utah to Mississippi to Alabama, these so-called “heartbeat bills” have made the first half of 2019 an assault on a woman’s right to choose. The networks of anti-choice activists behind these bills are intent on continuing the assault up to and until Roe v. Wade is dismantled.
The wave of anti-choice legislation has galvanized women and allies to protest, and speak out about bodily autonomy, with thousands have rallying last month in Chicago and New York City alone, with many more rallies across the nation.
But the assault on women’s health and women’s autonomy is not restricted to the campaign to overturn Roe.
“Crisis Pregnancy Centers” advertise themselves as medically licensed health clinics catering to women considering an abortion. In fact they are often unlicensed and are established to deliberately pressure and dissuade women from choosing abortion. Through a strategy of deception, women are lured in and given misinformation and lies about the risk and effects of having an abortion. Crisis Pregnancy Centers are part of the assault on women’s bodily autonomy, and they are hiding in plain sight.
In Long Island, New York, organizers with the Party for Socialism and Liberation are mobilizing to expose their deception. Activists recently showed up at the doors of the Hempstead fake clinic called “AAA Pregnancy Options” to protest. Alongside a strong showing of members from Nassau Democratic Socialists of America, protesters chanted, held picket signs declaring a woman’s right to choose and distributed with pamphlets to passers-by. The frequent honking of support from passing cars caused the protesters to cheer.
A speak out was held for women and allies to have their voices heard. The shared experiences of the predatory and misogynistic system was on full display as women shared their stories.
Rachel Silang, an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, said “These anti-abortion laws exist to control women. Under a capitalist system we are all disposable and made to feel powerless. Taking away women’s agency and choices is another way to instill fear and intimidation. The rich have always been able to get access to abortion because they can pay to get access to private services. These laws effect poor and working class women.”
Stories of forced sterilizations, stories of victim-blaming rape and assault survivors, stories of vulnerability and struggle were courageously shared. The need to fight back was reiterated each time, and the feeling of shared vulnerability changed into a feeling of solidarity and shared power.
Towards the end of the speakout police arrived, and protesters calmly dispersed at about the scheduled end time.
Kristin, an organizer with the ANSWER Coalition, had this to say: “It was inspiring to see so many people from different organizational backgrounds show up at the speak-out. Crisis Pregnancy Centers, like AAA Pregnancy Options, are predatory, dangerous institutions that take advantage of women at a vulnerable and isolating time. The fight is not only to ensure that abortion remains a legally-protected right, but to work towards ensuring that abortion is easily accessible on demand for all; that’s a future all women should be invested in.”
The campaign against the may forms of women’s oppression continues on Long Island. Women are standing up and fighting back to take their dignity and autonomy from the powers that would seize it from them. To get involved in this struggle contact [email protected]!