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Thursday, July 11,2013

Abortion Rights Freedom Ride draws local support

By Elizabeth Miller
This Common Secret by Susan Wickland

One in three women has an abortion, according to Dr. Susan Wicklund, an abortion provider in Montana and author of This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor. But most people say they don’t know someone who has had an abortion. That mothers, daughters, sisters and friends have this procedure and do not talk to one another is a symptom of abortion having become more stigmatized now than ever — and changing that perception is part of the mission of the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, organized by StopPatriarchy.org.

“We’re really at a tipping point where abortion has never been more difficult to access, more dangerous to provide or more stigmatized to get,” says Sunsara Taylor, an organizer for the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, coordinated car-caravans from New York City and San Francisco that will visit places around the country where abortions are becoming increasingly difficult to access.

“The core message of this freedom ride is, it is really essential that people fight each new attack that’s coming down on abortion rights and abortion access. Women’s lives depend on it,” Taylor says. “But it is even more essential that we get off the defensive and that we launch a national counter-offense and that we unapologetically come out and say that fetuses are not babies, abortion is not murder and women are not incubators, and we make the demand that abortion be available on demand and without apology.”

The last few years have seen record numbers of restrictions on abortions introduced, including some 278 bills in 2012 alone, and 97 percent of rural counties have no abortion provider, while five states — North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Arkansas and Mississippi — have only one. Taylor calls it a state of emergency, language echoed by Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, in her statement of support for the ride.

“The right for women to decide for themselves when and whether to have a child is very central to what women’s role in society will be,” Taylor says. “When women didn’t have access and the right to abortion or birth control … they had their lives foreclosed, their dreams extinguished. ... If you want to have a child, if you’re ready for a child, it can be the most beautiful thing there is, it can be extraordinary. But if you do not want a child you really are being reduced to a breeder, and your whole life’s course is being determined for you.”

The situation amounts to enslavement, she says.

Caravan riders will be delivering plaques to abortion providers to acknowledge their work and the risks they take by doing it, and “bloody coat hanger awards” to the organizations and legislative leaders that have done the most to restrict access to abortions. Kick-off rallies in New York City and San Francisco on July 23 will send the riders on their way to convergence events in the Midwest. On Aug. 1, North Dakota’s one clinic will be closed when new restrictions requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital take effect. Participants in the ride aim to visit the clinic before it closes its doors, as well as the clinic in Wichita, Kan., formerly run by Dr. George Tiller, who was killed four years ago. That clinic re-opened in May.

“My biggest fear is that it’s too quiet,” says Boulder resident Miriam Schiff, who is looking to draw together a group of women to join the ride. “I am deathly afraid of the overpowering silence, that nobody is saying anything, and that women have forgotten how to take to the streets, that we’ve become complacent. ... Instead of keeping up with the Kardashians, it should be keeping up with the legislature, because that’s what’s going to screw you over.”

Schiff says she may join the caravan at stops in Salt Lake City or Wichita, or fly to join a starting point if a caravan from Colorado doesn’t come together.

“I am not a militant feminist,” she says. “I’m just somebody who is scared to death that time is not marching forward, that rights aren’t being won and gained and held on to, but rights are being lost.”

She remembers what illegal abortions were like, she says, and wouldn’t want other women to have to go through that.

“We have a duty as women to make sure that it doesn’t happen anywhere else, because then we’re ensuring that it won’t happen here,” she says.

A Democratic majority in the Colorado House and Senate has meant the issue has stayed largely out of the state legislature, but that tide can turn with any election.

For more information on the local group headed to the ride, contact Miriam Schiff at miriamschiff123@gmail.com or 303-619-3744. UPDATE: Schiff says informational meetings will take place 8 p.m. July 11 and 7 p.m. July 19 at Kakes Studios, 2115 Pearl St., Boulder.

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When to have a baby? The facts are that you can choose - before a new life is created.  When you are pregnant there already is a baby.  Then there is the choice to kill or let live.  An abortion kills  the baby and everyboody knows it, weather it is admitted or not.


Actually it is a scientific fact that fetuses are not babies, abortion is not murder, and women are not incubators. Your view of abortion comes from how you see women, and it has nothing to do with babies. Your view of women should remain in the dark ages, where it belongs.


A scientific fact? Really? You are aware that "scientific facts" change like the weather... just because some researchers decide to redefine "life" to ease people's consciences does not change the fact that abortion terminates heartbeats and brainwaves, the "scientific definition" of life. When an adult has no more heart or brain function, they are declared dead - therefore, when a "fetus" demonstrates heart and brain function, they are alive. Just because they are tiny can cannot speak or be seen does not make it ok. I think if women were given the scalpels and told to slice up the "fetus" themselves, abortion would end. Making it a "woman's right" issue is a horrendous dodge that is designed to keep doctors in the clear who build multi-million dollar mansions on the blood of babies - it's a sick industry, and the doctors, and people like you who support them, all have blood on their hands. Woman have options - don't get pregnant. Engaging in behavior that leads to pregnancy doesn't mean the baby has to pay the price for an irresponsible woman.


@Bob Scientific opinion (not facts) changes with the influx of new information and no amount of new information is going to change the scientific distinction between a baby and a fetus. It's a fact of life that women get pregnant for various reasons. What's horrendous is someone like you forcing a woman to undergo the tribulations of pregnancy and delivery against her will and advocating her criminalization for doing so. You should be ashamed of yourself for suggesting that she perform the operation herself when she is clearly unqualified to do so. Such patent idiocy and ignorance harken back to the age of the coat hanger. And by the way, why don't you read up on modern abortion procedures before keyboarding the melodrama of slicing up the fetus? Whether you like it or not, it is a woman's LEGAL RIGHT to choose whether to bring her pregnancy full term and that's all that matters. Whatever she decides is clearly none of your business. Better 50,000,000 abortions than one unwanted child.