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Richmond IndyMedia Live! Every Tuesday, 12:30 - 1PM on 97.3 WRIR LP-FM, and streaming online from wrir.org!

LOCAL News :: Civil & Human Rights : Elections & Legislation : Gender and Sexuality : Protest Activity : Right Wing

Richmond Reproductive Freedom Protest Series

Part I: Life and Liberty “Face The Truth? Tour

Sometime around 5am, September 28th, someone…somewhere decided to start their day with a little bit of misogyny…actually that’s a lie. Someone woke up and decided to start their day with a LOT of misogyny....

Part II: RRFP hosts Abortion Speak Out

On Saturday, October 2nd, Richmond’s abortion fund collective, Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project hosted an abortion speak out in the VCU student commons. All genders were invited to share their personal experiences of having an abortion or share a story of someone they knew having an abortion....

Part III: Emergency Die-In Takes Place At Grove and Boulevard

A day after RRFP made progressive strides to discuss the necessity of reproductive freedom, one of Richmond’s women’s clinics that provides abortions came under attack on National Life Chain Day....

Part IV: Die-In Direct Actions planned for mid-October

October is Abortion Access Month and RRFP members have got some great plans up their sleeves. Stay tuned to this website for breaking news!
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Part I: Life and Liberty “Face The Truth? Tour

Sometime around 5am, September 28th, someone…somewhere decided to start their day with a little bit of misogyny…actually that’s a lie. Someone woke up and decided to start their day with a LOT of misogyny. Around 8:30am, I got a phone call from my roommate saying Life and Liberty Ministries, an anti-choice terrorist group on Broad and Belvedere street corners. The extremists later moved on the other side of Cabell Library near the VCU Student Commons.

Students had filed into the streets surrounding them to debate with the most irrational people on the Earth. They were so far into the streets, it nearly caused a couple of accidents. It was the usual scenario from anti-choice extremists: inaccurately labeled boards of miscarried fetuses advertised as aborted “children?, bloody graphic images, children holding American holocaust pamphlets and other racist, misogynist “Christian? literature. If I did believe in God, I’d be really offended as a Christian with what they are trying to pull. Older men (in case you didn’t know, they’ll never have any reason to choose “life?) with bullhorns and walkie-talkies shouting absurdities like “Abortion isn’t a women’s issue.?

A secretive meeting was held on the other side of the library in the meantime involving the VCU police and a couple of VCU’s head honchos. I had actually walked up to the officer to ask why the anti-choice protesters hadn’t been escorted to the precinct yet, when I overheard this ridiculous meeting which could be summed up to: “What?!...I don’t know, you go do something…No, you go tell them to stop, I’m not doing it…? If only I had a hammer…

One of the bearded goons made his way over to negotiate that they would stop using the bullhorns at least. Little did the police know, that meant they would just move into the center of campus where the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Tour bus had set up to pass out accurate literature regarding another important women’s issue. Two little boys dragged their billboards passed me to the compass in the center of campus. Tablers for the Komen tour became very upset and expressed concerns that it would take away from what they were doing. One volunteer followed my lead, in attempting to engage in dialogue with the seemingly amused bike cop who said “What they are doing is perfectly legal, unless they physically assault you, it’s perfectly legal, they do it all the time.?

I made the pitiful choice to stay and watch this foolishness go down when I received a call from a member of the Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project (RRFP), who let me know she was on her way to campus to do a counter protest by herself. A male student, around the same time, walked up to the compass and shouted “This is what will happen if you take away a women’s right to choose!? as he held up a wire coat hanger. A crowd had begun to gather and more volunteers from the Komen tour were getting upset because students thought they were with Life and Liberty when they walked up to them to hand out pink ribbons. A crowd of about 40 students had gathered when I had a panic attack.

I’m not sure if it was all the noise, the absurdities being shouted by both Life and Liberty and obnoxious young males who expressed sentiments of “Just wear it? (referring to condoms) or “Everyone should just get a vasectomy or be infertile!?, but I truly believe it was the hopelessness I felt for women who had died within the past hours that Life and Liberty had been on campus. I felt a serious amount of displaced energy. I left the “riot? to make sure I was safe, but later returned to see an even bigger crowd. Students held Planned Parenthood signs, VCU Vox tried to get people to sign a petition in the midst of chaos, other students held signs expressing why they were pro-choice, and the same guy who started yelling with the coat hanger, had made a sign out of cardboard that read “the breast cancer tour was here first.?

You can go to Life and Liberty’s website to check out where else they’ve been, terrorizing high schools and colleges in VA. They refer to their visit to VCU, and called VCU as “a terribly dark campus.?
www.lifeandlibertyministries.com/

Part II: RRFP hosts Abortion Speak Out

On Saturday, October 2nd, Richmond’s abortion fund collective, Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project hosted an abortion speak out in the VCU student commons. All genders were invited to share their personal experiences of having an abortion or share a story of someone they knew having an abortion. The event opened with a three-part documentary entitled, “Motherhood by Choice.? The film documented the journey of the reproductive justice movement: pre-Roe v. Wade, during Roe, and what could be very soon post-Roe. Afterwards, the event was opened up for a confidential dialogue for people to discuss their experiences of having an abortion, or why they do clinic defense and the dangers of anti-choice extremists. The dialogue then turned to a discussion of methods to make strides in the pro-choice movement and some of the upcoming events in Richmond regarding opportunities to take political actions and promoting awareness regarding reproductive freedom challenges. For more information about how to get more involved with the RRFP, contact rrfp (at) riseup.net, or visit their website www.rrfp.net.

Part III: Emergency Die-In Takes Place At Grove and Boulevard

A day after RRFP made progressive strides to discuss the necessity of reproductive freedom, one of Richmond’s women’s clinics that provides abortions came under attack on National Life Chain Day. Life Chain is an annual event where anti-choicers come out and hold offensive signs like “abortion kills women and children? for an hour around 2:30pm to raise awareness for there illegitimate “cause.?

Active clinic defense escorts, RRFP members, and passer-bys held a counterdemonstration outside the closed clinic. The over 20 pro-choice demonstrators held numerous different signs, with messages such as “Choice is the essence of freedom,? “Look around, 1 in 3 women have abortions by the age 45 – You know someone? and “God only provides daycare for dead babies.? The counter-demonstrators surrounded all four corners of the intersection of Grove and Boulevard while playing songs of empowerment and reproductive justice in between the die-in action that also took place.

Every six minutes a woman dies from lack of access to a safe, legal abortion. To demonstrate this fact, protesters read the biography of a woman who had died, every six minutes while a siren was played and someone pretended to die and RRFP member Lindsey Oliver, did a chalk outline of their bodies. Participants of the emergency die-in ran the right to life faction back to their church shouting “Right to Life, you’re a lie, you don’t care if women die!?

As mentioned earlier, many of the pro-choice folks who showed up to confront the Life Chainer’s annual one-hour long vigil are active clinic defense escorts. That means that every Saturday from 8am to 12pm, pro-choice volunteers are outside the clinic at Grove and Boulevard to help ensure that patients have support and safety in acting with their legal right to choose. Patient escorts are vital to the wellbeing of the clinic’s patients, because every Saturday aggressive anti-choice demonstrators also appear outside the clinic. These demonstrators harass incoming patients, sometimes going as far as screaming at them and blocking traffic. If you’re interested in helping to protect a women’s right to choose by being a patient escort, just email them at rrfp (at) riseup.net.

Part IV: Die-In Direct Actions planned for mid-October

October is Abortion Access Month and RRFP members have got some great plans up their sleeves. Stay tuned to this website for breaking news!
 
 


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