On Saturday, October 5th at 8:15am, pro-choice activists will demonstrate outside of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in SoHo, where congregants meet on the first Saturday of every month before marching to the Planned Parenthood clinic on Bleecker Street to harass and intimidate patients as they enter the clinic. Each month the church hosts a “pro-life mass” that concludes with a protest outside the Bleecker Street Planned Parenthood. The event draws over one hundred participants who attempt to shame and intimidate patients trying to get through the clinic’s doors.
The church is affiliated with other anti-choice groups including Bikers for Life and fake “sidewalk counselors” who attempt to intercept patients and convince them not to enter the clinic. During 40 Days for Life, a biannual religious anti-abortion campaign that runs this fall from September 25 to November 3, crowds of abortion opponents gather outside of clinics around the world to “pray to end abortion” and attempt to prevent patients from accessing reproductive healthcare.
The timing, falling right in the middle of 40 Days for Life, makes this particular counteraction an especially important one to rally large numbers to demonstrate our support for reproductive freedom.
More details about the event are here:
New York City for Abortion Rights (NYCFAR), a grassroots organization dedicated to direct action to defend access to abortion, will be joined by activists with National Women’s Liberation, Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Abortion Access Front, Rise and Resist, and Reclaim Pride to demonstrate in front of the church and delay the abortion opponents in their march to Planned Parenthood. Abortion rights activists will honor the memory of the many women who have lost their lives or been incarerated because of laws regulating women’s bodily autonomy. Each year, between 4.7% and 13.2% of maternal deaths worldwide can be attributed to unsafe abortion.
Here are just a few of the women in the United States who lost their lives or faced legal consequences as a result of anti-abortion laws:
Rosie Jimenez died at age 27 in 1977 from an illegal abortion in McAllen, Texas and is the first woman known to have died in the United States due to an illegal abortion after the Hyde Amendment was passed.
Marshae Jones, a 27-year-old woman from Birmingham, was taken into police custody in June 2019 after being indicted in Alabama on a manslaughter charge after being shot in the stomach and having a miscarriage.
Purvi Patel, the first US woman to be sent to prison for inducing her own abortion, was arrested in Indiana in July 2013 on two felony counts of child neglect and feticide and originally sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Reproductive justice activists will fight for bodily autonomy for all people and for equal access to reproductive healthcare. We will stand up to anti-abortion extremists wherever they appear, especially in this alarming moment when public support for abortion is at the highest level in decades but increasingly conservative state legislators are passing more restrictions on abortion access than at any point since abortion was legalized in 1973.
We need you to stand with us Saturday, October 5th against those who would deny us reproductive freedom, and for those who cannot stand for themselves.