A group of pro-abortion activists is launching a cross-country freedom ride to call for "abortion on demand, and without apology."
Stop Patriarchy will hold rallies to kick off the ride in New York and San Francisco on Tuesday, before sending caravans of cars to 14 states over the next month, including Mississippi, Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota – all states with just one abortion clinic remaining. Stop Patriarchy has previously focused its efforts on fighting pornography, but says it is now fighting harder for access to abortion because, according to its website, "Women are not objects. Women are not things to be used for the sexual pleasure of men nor are they breeders of children."
The activists will not visit Texas or North Carolina on the freedom ride, two states which recently saw legislative showdowns over bills proposing stringent abortion restrictions. But it says pro-abortion activists from both states will join them on the ride.
"States like Louisiana have had the same restrictions that Texas is getting for years," says Alex Petersburg of Stop Patriarchy's San Francisco office. "In many states, there is just one abortion clinic left, and that provider is harassed and stalked. The goal is to create a nationwide movement... against that."
Petersburg, who identifies as a "revolutionary communist," says a revolution is needed because women "are being treated like property."
On Indiegogo, a crowdfunding site, Stop Patriarcy has raised $22,000 for the freedom ride, warning supporters that reproductive rights are in a state of emergency.
Since the 2010 midterm elections, a record 92 provisions restricting access to abortion have been passed in 24 states, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Last Thursday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed sweeping abortion restrictions into law that could shut down the majority of the state's abortion providers. Earlier this month, the North Carolina House approved legislation for stringent abortion restrictions in the state.