Pro-choice advocates gather in solidarity at Charlotte clinic
Posted by raleighfist on August 1, 2010
by Cathey Stanley and Scott Williams
“Trust Women,” “Keep Abortion Safe and Legal,” and “This Clinic Stays Open” were among the signs bordering the entrance of Family Reproductive Health on July 24th. Family Reproductive Health is an abortion clinic in Charlotte, NC that has been facing attacks from anti-choice advocates.
‘Operation Rescue,’ or ‘Operation Save America,’ a right-wing group whose primary purpose is to end abortion rights for women across the United States, organized the attacks on Family Reproductive Health, as well as several other clinics in Charlotte. ‘Operation Save America’ was culminating its week-long convention in Charlotte on July 24th, and has been harassing the clinic and the women who depend on the clinic for the entire week.
In anticipation of their arrival, eighty advocates for women’s reproductive rights gathered in solidarity at Family Reproductive Health to support the patients and clinics. Groups represented at the clinic included the Feminist Majority Foundation, the National Organization for Women, Raleigh Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST), and UNC- Charlotte Students for a Democratic Society were among many groups who defended the clinic throughout the week.
Mary Johnson from Charlotte reported that she was out on July 24th because “I had a friend who didn’t believe in abortion and she had one. I’m out here so that every woman has the right to choose like her. For her, the baby wouldn’t live after birth so I thought that it was important that she should have the right to choose. So now, I’m here to defend every woman’s right to an abortion… In the past few decades, NC went from having some of the most pro-woman abortion laws to limiting abortion services for women in NC, especially minors.”
Cathey Stanley from Raleigh F.I.S.T. traveled to Family Reproductive Health because “Women’s reproductive rights are an indication of where we stand in society. The right to choose indicates that we are adults who are fully capable of making decisions about our bodies and lives. Taking that choice away suggests that we are like children, incapable of making such decisions about what is best for our own lives. Taking away reproductive rights takes away our autonomy as fully functional human beings.”
Francisco Chavez from UNC-Charlotte Students for a Democratic Society and Feminist Union at UNCC says that “Being from Mexico, as an ally of women I have witnessed the struggle women go through because of sexism, which is very similar in the United States. We need total equality through awareness, education, and action with men and women. In a men-dominated society, women’s issues are connected to all issues of oppression. It’s very scary that people are so against reproductive rights. These people are attacking women seeking medical services and only contributing to the oppression of women.”
Morale was high among the supporters of the clinic, as a steady crowd of people remained at Family Reproductive Health from early morning to late afternoon. Supporters had signed agreements of non-engagement and non-violence with any outside agitators, but were ready to stand their ground in the event of opposition. A few agitators walked through the crowd or stood on the opposite sidewalk holding signs or spewing anti-choice rhetoric, but the supporters far outnumbered the anti-choice individuals.
As they stood along the lines, the pro-choice advocates spoke with one another, made contacts for future events, and shared their own stories of how they came to fight for reproductive justice. The protest for pro-choice at Family Reproductive Health on July 24th was a successful event that fostered an environment of solidarity and continued action with women’s reproductive rights.