Eleven members of the pro-choice activist group Stop Patriarchy were arrested Wednesday while protesting the Texas abortion law currently under review by a U.S. District Court, KVUE reports.
Stop Patriarchy, a group known for its slogan “abortion on demand and without apology” and whose protest accessories include heavy black chains and hangers covered in fake blood, was protesting as part of its annual Abortion Rights Freedom Ride. “The Abortion Rights Freedom Ride 2014: GROUND ZERO TEXAS,” as their website calls it, “is a fight to turn the tide in the all-out assault on women’s right to abortion and birth control.”
They encouraged abortion activists from across the country to join them in Texas to “create a political situation where [courts and politicians] fear that any negative ruling will not only inflame resistance, defiance and protest, but will also undermine their legitimacy in the eyes of millions.”
It’s Texas’s House Bill 2 that has them so inflamed, which was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry last summer. The law requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, abortion drugs to be administered in person by a doctor, and women to have a follow-up appointment after taking abortifacients. It also bans abortions after 20 weeks and requires abortions to be performed at outpatient surgery centers.
The Center for Reproductive Rights filed suit over the law in April, arguing that the outpatient surgery center (also known as “ambulatory surgery center”) requirements would leave fewer than ten licensed abortion clinics in the state of Texas. (RELATED: Ohio Abortion Clinic Fined $25K For Shocking Health And Safety Violations)
“Many women will suddenly face a round trip as far as 1,000 miles from their homes to obtain abortion care in their own state,” said CRR President Nancy Northup. “It is an affront to women’s dignity, endangering their health, well-being, and lives. It is an attack on the U.S. Constitution, and the rights it guarantees all of us to make our own decisions about our families without interference from politicians, and it must be struck down.” (RELATED: Planned Parenthood Failed To Report A Child Rapist, Who Then Assaulted More Girls)
Trial arguments concluded Wednesday, with Judge Lee Yeakel vowing to issue a ruling soon, but not giving an actual date. The outpatient surgery center regulation is currently set to go into effect Sept. 1.
The protesters were arrested for refusing to move after intentionally blocking a street outside the governor’s mansion on Wednesday afternoon. All 11 were released early Thursday morning.
“It is about enslavement of women,” said Stop Patriarchy founder Sunsara Taylor in an August interview. “We try to revoke the cloak of morality that these people like to dress themselves in and say, you know, you hate women. You’re motivated by the hatred of women, you’re motivated by the desire to control women.”
Their tactics and rhetoric have drawn criticism from other abortion activists, with many taking to Twitter with the hashtags #ExposeStopPatriarchy and #FuckStopPatriarchy.
#FuckStopPatriarchy because I’ve seen too many folks accept them as just “like, radical!” when they’re actually just assholes.
— Rachel Goldfarb (@RachelG8489) July 25, 2014
“When you deploy images of slavery and use past and current suffering from racism to get your message across, we and our allies find that offensive,” said Sarah Tuttle of the Lilith Fund, a group that funds abortions for lower income women.
“This organization has raised tens of thousands of dollars to come to Texas, yell, scream, have a bus tour, and then leave,” said Lenzi Sheible, founder of Fund Texas Women, another abortion funding group. “Rather than helping the movements that are already going on, Stop Patriarchy is detracting from our efforts.”
“Being polite and being patient is no solution!” reads a suggested protest chant on the group’s website. “Unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution!”