Cortney O'Brien

“These coat hangers represent the terror enacted against women!” So screamed Alexandria Petersburg, an organizer for a pro-abortion group known as “Stop Patriarchy.”

Petersburg and her group made quite the scene in Austin, Texas Wednesday when they gathered outside a federal courthouse to protest the pro-life bill HB2. Governor Rick Perry signed this legislation into law last summer and it has since shuttered over a dozen abortion clinics in the state after they failed to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. Since its passage, pro-choice advocates have used rather unorthodox tactics to voice their opposition. "Stop Patriarchy," however, took their protests to an egregious level:

They were cloaked in black chains, holding bloody clothes hangers and chanting, "Abortion on demand without apology!" Protesting outside the Austin federal courthouse during the trial to overturn Texas' abortion law last week, members of the national abortion rights group Stop Patri­archy likened forced motherhood – that is, no access to abortion care – to female enslavement. The fiery rhetoric and dramatic display caught the eyes of local TV news – one newscast reported, "Those orange shirts were back to protest the law."

Eleven of these protesters were even arrested outside of the governor's mansion.

If you have a hard time imagining this scene, check out the shocking video footage from The Austin American-Statesman. You’ll see women holding signs that read, “Forced motherhood is female enslavement,” and “Abortion providers are heroes.”

It’s no wonder some reproductive rights organizations have chosen to distance themselves from this radical group:

Among the litany of criticisms, prominent is that the New York-based group did little to meaningfully collaborate with homegrown advocates, who have spent years combating state anti-abortion laws. Instead, the group hopped on its "Abortion Freedom Ride" Texas tour – a month-long, protest-filled road trip – and asked for support from local organizations while diverting financial resources and energy away from those local groups. Others say Stop Patriarchy's rigid anti-sex-worker and anti-pornography beliefs fail to support bodily autonomy and female empowerment. Additionally, Austin advocates consider Stop Patriarchy's bombastic tactics intimidating, disruptive, and counterproductive to the local efforts.

I’ll say.

This criticism of “Stop Patriarchy” is well placed. However, regardless of their tactics or names, any group operating under the banner of “reproductive justice” has the same goal in mind: Abortion on demand. Just take a look at their hero, Wendy Davis. This Texas state senator became famous for trying to stop a ban on abortions at 20 weeks. It didn’t matter to Davis that unborn babies can feel pain at this point in the pregnancy.

“Stop Patriarchy” may be a bit more provocative than other abortion rights groups, but is this really that much more civilized? Their agenda is dangerous - no matter what chants they choose to sing or signs they choose to wave.

Arguments for and against HB2 concluded Wednesday. Now Texans wait for Judge Lee Yeakel to rule before the abortion clinic regulations go into effect September 1.

Although he has yet to issue a ruling, Yeakel likely made pro-lifers a bit nervous with these statements:

Yeakel expressed discomfort with requiring women in the Rio Grande Valley to make the 300-mile round-trip drive to the closest facility in San Antonio, asking if most people “would stand for” an all-day drive to receive treatment for an ankle sprain or an appendectomy.

“I have a problem believing it is reasonable to require anyone to travel 150 miles for medical care when they can get that medical care closer,” Yeakel said.

I hope Yeakel realizes his mistake in comparing abortion to an ankle sprain and ultimately takes into account the unborn children who don’t get a vote.


Cortney O'Brien

Cortney O'Brien is a Townhall web editor. Follow her on Twitter @obrienc2.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography