Saturday, May 14, is a national day of action for the protection of abortion rights. If you’re in New York City, I’ve got three options for you:
- 12 PM – 6 PM: THIS IS THE LARGEST EVENT: The Bans Off Our Bodies action with Planned Parenthood and other national organization starts at noon at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, across from the courthouse. A march will cross the Brooklyn Bridge and then rally in Foley Square. If you want to join just in Foley Square, head there around 2 p.m. (Note: It’s always true that you don’t have to stay for an entire event! Better to be there 30 minutes or an hour than to miss an event entirely.)
- 12 PM: Black and brown women and femmes will begin their own rally and march in Foley Square at noon. This is separate from the Planned Parenthood march because these grass-roots organizers do not coordinate their actions with the police, unlike the national organizations.
- 2 PM – 4 PM – Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights is starting its march in Union Square at 14th Street. It will merge into Foley Square.
If you’re not in New York, click here to find a local event. And if you can’t hit the streets, it’s imperative that you contact your elected officials FREQUENTLY to demand that they defend everyone’s right to privacy and bodily integrity — red states could go after everything from gay marriage to birth control next. Please remember that Margaret Atwood didn’t write The Handmaid’s Tale as unthinkable dystopian future; every abuse in it was inspired by history. Please note that “Justice” Samuel Alito’s draft overthrowing Roe v. Wade was also inspired by history — a notorious 17th-century witch-trial judge, to be precise.
So, how do you contact your elected officials? The easiest way is Resistbot, which lets you send an email to multiple elected official in under two minutes, 24/7. I’ve written about Resistbot before. It’s so easy you that you can do it from the bath, while you’re walking the dog, while you’re on the train, and while out with your gal pals at a bar. (I’ve always loved drunk-texting Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.) There’s no such thing as being too busy to use Resistbot. To get started, text the word RESIST to 50409. You can learn more about what to say to elected officials and why you should do it from this Google doc I created as a guide to my weekly activism newsletter for Indivisible Activate NYC. I’m happy to give you one-on-one training too if you contact me.
By the way, women in the United States are already being denied treatment for miscarriages and even convicted of crimes for their pregnancy outcomes, which is what happened to 21-year-old Britney Poolaw. Denial of treatment can be fatal, as was the case in 2012, in Ireland, when Savita Halappanavar died of sepsis in the hospital when she was denied treatment while miscarrying a much-wanted baby at 17 weeks. Savita became the face of Ireland’s historic 2018 vote to repeal its strict abortion ban; people there cared that a woman lost her life. Unfortunately, deaths like hers are less likely to stir the emotions of the loud authoritarian minority in the U.S., because we already have the worst maternal mortality rate among developed nations, and the anti-abortion fanatics have no interest in rectifying that. I’ll have much more to say about the American death cult soon, but right now, I’m finishing my preparations for tomorrow’s protests. I’m actually running a little behind because I took some time this afternoon to join another die-in with Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights. This one was in Washington Square Park.
At the die-in, I carried a poster representing Becky Bell, a 17-year-old girl who died after an illegal abortion in Indiana in 1988 because the state required parental approval for abortions and she was scared to disappoint her parents. Other people in the group represented the abortion-ban-related deaths of Savita Halappanavar; Clara Bell Duvall (died 1929); Geraldine Santoro (died 1964); Pauline Roberson Shirley (died 1940); and Rosie Jimenez (died 1977).
Outside of the U.S., a court in El Salvador — where there is a total ban on abortion — this month sentenced a woman known only as Esme to 30 years in prison after she lost a pregnancy due to an obstetric emergency. This happened even though the Inter-American court of human rights last year ruled that El Salvador was responsible for the death of Manuela, a woman who got a 30-year-sentence in 2008 for “killing her baby” when she had a miscarriage. Manuela was actually suffering from undiagnosed Hodgkin’s lymphoma — the hospital was so focused on Manuela’s supposed abortion that doctors disregarded the visible masses on her neck. She died two years into her sentence from the lymphoma, which was never properly treated.
Meanwhile, in Texas, there’s one lawmaker who doesn’t want to leave a woman’s death up to chance. Things like sepsis, cancer, stroke, and bleeding out aren’t good enough for him. This guy introduced a bill to allow the death penalty for women who have abortions. As author and lawyer Jill Filipovic responded on Twitter: “So pro-life they’ll kill ya.”
See you in the streets.