In early January of 2022, Merle Hoffman, Lori Sokol, Sunsara Taylor and other initiators of RiseUp4AbortionRights.org came together as individual long time activists out of their shared recognition that the Supreme Court was on track to decimate abortion rights. They issued a Statement which read, in part, “We refuse to let the U.S. Supreme Court deny women’s humanity and decimate their rights! Join us in fighting for Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!… Forced motherhood is female enslavement…The violent subjugation of half of society must not be accommodated, excused, downplayed, or surrendered to. IT MUST BE STOPPED!”
On January 22, 2022, the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, RiseUp4AbortionRights.org rallied in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, to announce and call for a growing movement of mass, sustained, nonviolent protest to Stop the Supreme Court from Decimating Abortion Rights.
Since then, RiseUp4AbortionRights.org has continued to call forth nationwide protest and nonviolent resistance: outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City on February 27th , nationwide on March 8th, International Women’s Day; again nationwide on April 9th, and in an intensified way since the May 2nd leak of Samuel Alito’s draft decision for the majority of the Supreme Court indicating their intention to overturn Roe v. Wade.
RiseUp4AbortionRights.org’s previously planned Week of Action to Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights from May 8 – 14 took on heightened importance in light of the Supreme Court’s leak with emphasis on the demand:
Overturn Roe? Hell No!
STOP the Supreme Court from Taking Away Abortion Rights!
In mid-April, initiators Merle Hoffman, Lori Sokol and Sunsara Taylor issued an Open Letter calling on all people and organizations of conscience to unite in a mass unified day of nonviolent protest on May 14th, 2022. From the beginning, as articulated in that Open Letter, RiseUp4AbortionRights.org has welcomed people from diverse political views and stressed the need to:
“…unite all who can be unified from different perspectives and viewpoints, around the great unifying objective to stop The Supreme Court from decimating a long-established constitutional right that is central to millions of lives and society as a whole.”
These words, from our initiating Statement, were profoundly true and guided our mission.
If we leave this to Congress, the Courts, and State Legislatures and do not fill the streets with people determined to stop this, then there is virtually no hope for stopping this assault. But if we, in our multitudes, stand up in uncompromising defiance then there is a possibility—not a certainty, but a real possibility—that we could beat back this assault and begin to change the whole political dynamic in this country.
Our only way forward and our best way forward is to resist. To step outside the confines of “official” politics and fill the streets with our fury. Growing in numbers, in cities and small towns, uniting all who can be united and coming back stronger in continuing, sustained, nonviolent mass protest. Shaking all of society from the streets to the arts and sciences with our determination. Drawing inspiration from the mighty outpourings of women and others around the world against patriarchal degradation. Changing the whole political atmosphere throughout society and what women-haters – from the Supreme Court to the State Houses to the streets – feel they can get away with. Rising up with courage and conviction to defeat this assault while bringing closer a future where women and all people are free.
In the weeks leading up to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, activists with Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights spearheaded defiant and disruptive nonviolent protests – inside Joel Olsteen’s Houston mega-church, on the floor of the WNBA Liberties game at Barclay’s Center, at Dodger’s Stadium in Los Angeles, and beyond – that garnered significant media attention. We projected the message that Forced Motherhood = Female Enslavement and called on the millions who support abortion rights to get off the sidelines and join in mass, nonviolent, disruptive protest to prevent the overturning of Roe.
We also mobilized activists and volunteers to travel to DC and protest outside the Supreme Court on every day of a potential decision. When the ruling finally came, from in front of the Supreme Court and in defiant marches across the country, we led thousands of furious and heartsick people to project a message of defiance for the whole world to see: “ILLEGITIMATE! This decision must not stand, legal abortion across the land!”
While we did not succeed in preventing the overturning of Roe, the efforts that tens of thousands undertook together with Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights – the thousands of students who walked out from school, the women who bravely shared their pre-Roe abortion stories publicly for the first time, the women with ties to Latin America who brought the experience and defiance of the Green Wave into the streets of the U.S., the artists and prominent voices of conscience, and so many others – made a very big difference. Together, we planted a fighting pole that rejects the enslavement of half of humanity by the state and has made clear the illegitimacy of a court ruling that unleashed the state to enforce this on women.
All this has put the people in a stronger position to fight forward now to reverse the political momentum in this country and to win Legal Abortion On Demand and Without Apology nationwide.
Having come together initially for the purpose of mobilizing mass resistance to prevent the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights movement across the country went through a process of reflection and regroupment after the Supreme Court ruling came down. Merle Hoffman and Sunsara Taylor, along with other emerging leaders in Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights, assessed that there was still an ongoing role and importance to the mission of Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights and that they remain committed and able to lead this forward. Lori Sokol, who played an invaluable role in co-initiating and co-leading this struggle together with Merle Hoffman and Sunsara Taylor from January of 2022 through the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe, is no longer in a position to continue in that capacity and will support the fight for reproductive freedom in other ways, including increasing coverage of women’s reproductive rights in Women’s eNews, the global news organization she runs. Efforts are underway now to develop a new Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights mission statement and a program for struggle for the fall of 2022, to be publicized on this website soon.
We invite and urge every individual, community, and organization that understands that women need legal abortion on demand and without apology in order to be free to join and/or partner with us to make this a reality.
INTO THE STREETS TO DEMAND: THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MUST RESTORE LEGAL ABORTION NATIONWIDE NOW!
FORCED MOTHERHOOD = FEMALE ENSLAVEMENT!
ABORTION ON DEMAND AND WITHOUT APOLOGY!
STOP the Supreme Court From Taking Away Abortion Rights
WE ARE FIGHTING FOR
Abortion On Demand & Without Apology!
WE TAKE INSPIRATION
From the women in Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Colombia who have waged fierce determined mass non-violent struggle in the streets in the form of a #Green4Abortion wave to de-criminalize abortion.