In the immediate aftermath of a ruling by a federal judge revoking FDA approval of the abortion pill mifepristone, Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights called for protests around the country on April 8 and 9 to protest the outrageous & illegitimate violation of women’s fundamental right to abortion. The following is a speech given at the protest in Austin by Coco Das, of the editorial board of Refuse Fascism
Speech by Coco Das, Austin TX, 4/8/23
Yesterday, after 5 pm on Good Friday, perhaps/likely with the hope that people would not get into the streets with their outrage on Easter weekend, a federal judge in Amarillo Texas, Matthew Kaczmaryk revoked FDA approval of the abortion pill mifepristone. Mifepristone is one of the safest drugs on the market. But the Christian fascists who brought this case know that. Judge Kaczmaryk knows that. These anti-abortion lunatics who have been harassing women and killing doctors for decades have built their whole movement on lies – but now 9 months after the overturning of Roe, uplifted by a fascist movement in this country that rose to the White House with Donald Trump, they are emboldened to accelerate their attacks and go for the whole thing.
It is time to get fucking serious. It’s time to stop playing around. We need to call this what it is, a fascist move to further enslave and degrade women, and we need to fight and call on others to fight politically and ideologically through non-violent struggle. Our power is in the streets and we need to start using it.
Make no mistake. Despite articles prettifying Kaczmaryk’s “strong Christian and conservative convictions,” someone who “prays often and is always reading the bible.” – he’s not just reading the bible all the time, he is a Christian fascist imposing a theocratic patriarchal worldview with his bible in one hand and the American flag in the other.
This judge is a bigot. He has said recognizing same-sex marriage will send the country “on a road to potential tyranny” and that marriage equality is a “complete abuse of rule of law.” Think about that.
He once said the sexual revolution gave way to a person being an “autonomous blob of Silly Putty unconstrained by nature or biology”, a world where “marriage, sexuality, gender identity and even the unborn child must yield to the erotic desires of liberated adults.” Think about the fact that this man has the power to reshape society for millions of people all over this country.
He is a hater and enslaver of women who wants to deny even the right to birth control, forcing women and girls and others to give birth against their will, and bring about a world in which women are not liberated but properties of the state, the church, and men.
And like all these fascists he is a liar, nominated to the federal court by the orange turd and fascist liar in chief Donald Trump. At his confirmation hearing, he said, “I can’t recall an instance when I observed a judge imposing their religion,” Kacsmaryk said. “But I will say for the record that it is inappropriate for an Article III judge to do so.”
Meanwhile, a different federal judge in Washington State, Thomas Rice, issued a conflicting order to the FDA to maintain access/approval of mifepristone in 18 jurisdictions (17 states, plus DC). Because this country is deeply divided and we are NOT living in “normal” times. This means this case is likely to go to the Supreme Court. But if anyone thinks we should sit back and wait for that, they are deluding themselves. Because this is the Supreme Court that is stacked with Christian fascists, that overturned Roe v. Wade, and cleared the way for a nationwide abortion ban which this ruling is a part of instituting.
Sunsara Taylor, one of the founders of Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, who is also a revolutionary communist and follower of the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian, said this on Twitter:
“Kacsmaryk’s ruling includes — and enters into the federal court record — many woman-hating, Handmaid Tale, anti-scientific assertions. He literally argues that it is wrong to refer to fetuses as fetuses and instead they should be called an “unborn human” or “unborn child.”
He also insists on speaking about how they are “starved” or “killed” in their “mother’s womb.” But there IS NO MOTHER if the woman hasn’t had a child. Fetuses (and blastocysts and embryos) are NOT children. This is FASCIST HANDMAID LANGUAGE. It is the language of THEOCRACY.”
Now, sisters and brothers, it’s time for some real talk. Nine months ago when Roe was overturned, there were tens of thousands of people across this country marching and protesting. Right here in this city there were thousands of us, and those protests continued for several days. But at a time when this resistance could have and should have grown to a movement of millions – into a Latin-American style green wave right here in the U.S. flourishing and winning back abortion rights – there was an unprincipled and scurrilous attack on Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights by some movement hustlers fighting not for the 22 million women in red states about to lose a fundamental right to abortion but for ownership of the so-called Reproductive Rights movement.
They attacked us for being new on the scene and urged people to instead listen to “longtime” activists — did they mean the ones who signed Rise Up’s founding letter like GLORIA STEINEM? They attacked us because of our founders Sunsara Taylor and others working with Rise Up are COMMUNISTS! What is this, the Red Scare of the 1950s?! They attacked us because we used the word woman. No matter how much we acknowledged that abortion bans impact everyone who can get pregnant including trans and non-binary people, we continued to assert the fact that these attacks are directed at women as part of a patriarchal Christian fundamentalist agenda to subordinate women. This WAS and still IS FUNDAMENTAL to understanding where this attack is coming from and where we are headed if we do not resist.
This online attack was also full of wildly false accusations which are not worth repeating here. Because the most important thing that happened from those attacks, was that they confused and disoriented thousands of people who were righteously stepping out and it sent them home. It sent them home while fascists were on the march. And I want to say to those people who went home, you were right to be in the streets and it’s time to get back out, because staying home is doing nothing but handing victories to these fascists again and again.
But let’s return to the first charge these movement opportunists leveled against Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights – that we were so focused on saving Roe we didn’t raise awareness of abortion medication as a post-Roe tool. They said we were encouraging people to wear bloody pants and carry coat-hangers in the streets instead of telling them to adjust to a post-Roe world – even before Roe was overturned and we had a fighting chance to save it.
But who was right? If you know what these fascists are after, if you know that this is an attack on women and their right to control their own destinies, you know that they’re not going to be satisfied just with overturning Roe. You know that there is no workaround that these fascists who are increasingly in power can’t overstep. And you know that poor women, Black women, immigrants, homeless women, all these women without privilege are not going to be able to access the abortion pill in an underground network. You know that those same people are the most vulnerable to being criminalized and will be arrested and charged with murder. This has happened already. You know that this fascist movement is fighting with everything they’ve got to submit this whole country to their domination. According to an estimate by a team of economists, roughly 100,000 women in the first year following the Roe decision would be unable to access a legal abortion provider. In the end, about 75,000 women who would have had an abortion are likely going to give birth over the next year. 75,000 women and girls forced to give birth against their will. This is female enslavement.
So no, we were not going to tell people lies that the overturning of Roe would be anything but a horror and accelerant to this fascist nightmare, that is not only taking away abortion rights but carrying out a genocidal campaign against Trans people and trying to take Black people back to Jim Crow.
It is time to get real. It is time to fight. It is time to win back abortion rights in the same way it was won in the first place, and the way it’s being won in Latin America – not by sitting back and relying on the courts and legislators but in the streets, with defiant, determined & growing protests to stop these fascists from violating women’s fundamental rights & achieve abortion on demand without apology nationwide.
Ask yourselves and ask everyone with a heart:
Will you accept a society where physicians are turned into an arm of the state, forced to operationalize the anti-woman ideology of theocratic judges by denying patients the medications and services they need?
Will you silently adjust to another leap in the Christian fascist drive to force women back into open patriarchal subordination to men by using the state to force them to have children against their will?
Will you comfort yourself in this acquiescence with the misplaced hope that this assault will stop here? They won’t!
Or will you resist?
As we wrote in our founding statement, “The violent subjugation of half of society must not be accommodated, excused, downplayed, or surrendered to. IT MUST BE STOPPED!”