Miscellaneous – An Open Letter About Events in Texas

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The nation stands at the edge of a historic reversal. Hard won gains of the women’s rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s are about to be turned back with devastating results for women across the country. Abortion, already a barely accessible right for most women, is now being made extinct as conservative politicians attempt to press their advantage in certain states in opportunistic fashion.

But the problem we face is deeper. In Texas, the legislature has used every legal (and some illegal) trick in the book to make sure that the pro-choice majority is not heard. The current legislation under consideration represents some of the most draconian limits on abortion rights ever. And instead of allowing normal democratic procedures to resolve the issue, the legislature has relied on a rigged process to force the bill through. A few examples are worth mention: every procedural objection that was made to Wendy Davis’s historic filibuster; the refusal to hold state-wide hearings to allow affected communities to testify about the consequences of the legislation; the intentional misreporting of how many people testified in opposition to the legislation; the years of gerrymandering which make it nearly impossible for the legislature to reflect the real wishes of the population; the organizing of “special sessions” to push through legislation.

The current legislation is too important to allow these deficits in the democratic process to go unchallenged. The bills in Texas would close down the overwhelming majority of clinics which provide abortions and thereby eliminate all of the ancillary services those clinics also provide – STD testing, family planning, health care. That some of these clinics are also the only places where low-income, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals are able to get health services means that this legislation will disproportionately impact the most vulnerable members of society.

We believe that the legislative process is stacked against those of us who believe that abortion rights are a necessary part of a woman’s ability to control her own body and make decisions about her own health. As a result, it now becomes necessary to take action outside of the legislative process. We firmly believe that if we were to stand up and be counted, the pro-choice forces in this country will outnumber the forces of reaction. It is in this vein that we call on all people who believe in a woman’s right to choose to stand up and be counted.

We propose that marches and rallies be organized in every city in Texas on July 15th in order to show just how deep the pro-choice sentiment actually runs. In Austin, we will be rallying at 8 pm at the Texas Capitol. But as these attacks against choice are not limited to Texas, we invite all those who stand for choice to join us in a national day of solidarity on July 15th. We believe it is possible to win back our rights, but only if we take a stand in the way that people have been standing for their rights in Brazil, Egypt, and Greece: by understanding that popular protest has the ability to change what a narrow minority of people impose under the fiction of legality.

Signed,

Linda Martín Alcoff, Department of Philosophy, Hunter College/CUNY

Dr. Anjali Arondekar, Associate Professor, Department of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

Wendy Ashmore, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Riverside

Michelle Belden, Bates College Archivist

C. Marshall Bennett, LMSW, President, ACC/AFT Local #6249

Tithi Bhattachrya, Associate Professor of History, Purdue University

Tiffani Bishop, GetEqual TX Central Texas Lead

Eileen Boris, Hull Professor and Chair, Department of Feminist Studies, University of California Santa Barbara

Brian A. Bremen, Associate Professor of English, University of Texas at Austin

Professor Timothy Brennan, Department of Cultural Studies& Comparative Literature, and English, University of Minnesota

Susan Briante, MFA, PhD, Associate Professor, Creative Writing Program, University of Arizona

Rachel Brickner, Associate Professor of Politics, Acadia University

Karen Brodkin, Professor Emerita, Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles

Carole H. Browner, Distinguished Research Professor, Departments of Anthropology, Gender Studies & Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior University of California, Los Angeles

Heather Busby, Executive Director, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas

Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor of Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley

Allison Carruth, Assistant Professor, UCLA

Mia Carter, Associate Professor of English, University of Texas, Austin

Margaret Cerullo, Professor, Sociology and Feminist Studies, Hampshire College

Indrani Chatterjee, Associate Professor of History, University of Texas, Austin

Chris Chiappari, Associate Professor of Sociology & Anthropology, St. Olaf College

Dana Cloud, Associate Professor of Communication, University of Texas, Austin

Huma Dar, Asian American & Asian Diaspora Studies Program, UC Berkeley

Bug Davidson, Director of Homoscope Film Festival

Janet M. Davis, Associate Professor of American Studies, History, and Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Anthony DeStefanis, Assistant Professor of History, Department of History and Political Science, Otterbein University

Mia M. Dia, PE, founder of Women’s Alliance for Leadership (WAL) in Dallas Texas

Laurie Donovan, LMFT, LCSW

Jim Downs, Associate Professor of History, Connecticut College

David L. Eng, Richard L. Fisher Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania

Eve Ensler, Author of The Vagina Monologues

Anton Ford, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Chicago

Sonia Pressman Fuentes, Speaker, Author, “Eat First–You Don’t Know What They’ll Give You, The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter”

Lauren J. Gantz, PhD Candidate, Department of English, University of Texas at Austin

Montserrat Garibay, National Board Certified Teacher, Vice President for LULAC Council 4859, Austin, Texas

Terri E. Givens, Associate Professor, Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin

Shari Goldberg, Assistant Professor of Literary Studies, University of Texas at Dallas

Gilbert G. Gonzalez, Professor Emeritus, Chicano Latino Studies, UC Irvine

Linda Gordon, University Professor of the Humanities, Florence Kelley Professor of History, New York University

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Coordinator of FOR Interfaith Peacewalks, Cofounder of Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence

Elizabeth Gregory, Director, Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, University of Houston

Sondra Hale, Research Professor/Professor Emerita, Anthropology and Gender Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

Lynne Hanley, professor emerita of literature and writing, Hampshire College

Leslie Harris, Dallas Coordinator, CODEPINK Women for Peace

Susan Sage Heinzelman, Associate Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies, University of Texas, Austin

Rosemary Hennessy, Director, Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality, Rice University

Jim Hightower, editor of The Hightower Lowdown, former TX Agriculture Commissioner

Kristen Hogan, English Literature and Women’s and Gender Studies Librarian, University of Texas, Austin

Nancy Hogshead-Makar , two-time Olympic champion

Jim Holstun, English, SUNY Buffalo

Michael Honey, Author and professor, University of Washington Tacoma

Heather Houser, Assistant Professor of English, University of Texas, Austin

Madeline Hsu, Associate Professor of History, University of Texas, Austin

Alison Jaggar, Professor of Distinction, Philosophy and Women and Gender Studies Research Coordinator, University of Colorado at Boulder College

Tsitsi Jaji, Assistant Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania

Pranav Jani, Associate Professor, English, The Ohio State University

Ann Rosalind Jones, Esther Cloudman Dunn Professor of Comparative Literature, Smith College

Alison Kafer, Associate Professor of Feminist Studies, Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX

Chris Kaiser, Staff Attorney, Texas Association Against Sexual Assault

Deena Kalai, PLLC

Katie Kane, Associate Professor of English, The University of Montana

Suvir Kaul, A. M. Rosenthal Professor, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania

Michael Kazin, Professor of History, Georgetown University, Editor, Dissent

William Keach, Professor of English, Brown University

Marie Kennedy, Professor Emerita of Community Planning, University of Massachusetts Boston

Linda K. Kerber, Brodbeck Professor of History Emerita, University of Iowa

Alice Kessler-Harris, R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of History, Columbia University

Katherine C. King, Professor Comparative Literature, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

David Klein, Professor of Mathematics, California State University, Northridge

Karen Kocher, Lecturer, Department of Radio-TV-Film, University of Texas at Austin

Deepa Kumar, Associate Professor of Communication, Rutgers University

Christine Labuski, Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Faculty Affiliate, Department of Science, Technology, and Society, Virginia Tech University

Beryl Landau, Artist, San Francisco, CA

Edward Lee MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Anne Lewis, Lecturer, Radio Television and Film, University of Texas, Austin, independent film-maker

Holly Lewis, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Texas State University

Bernth Lindfors, Professor Emeritus of English, University of Texas at Austin

Arthur MacEwan, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Massachusetts Boston

Elaine Tyler May, Regents Professor, Departments of American Studies and History, University of Minnesota

Bryan McCann, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Louisiana State University

Edward J. McCaughan, Professor of Sociology, San Francisco State University

Mona Mehdy, Associate Professor of Biology, University of Texas, Austin

Carlos Muñoz, Jr., Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Scholar and Professor Emeritus, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Ruth Needleman, professor emeritus, Indiana University

Mary Nolan, Professor, Department of History, New York University

Vivian Norris, PhD Honorary Chair Muhamad Yunus Social Business MBA Huffington Post blogger, filmmaker

Charlotte Nunes, PhD candidate, Department of English, UT-Austin

Richard Oestreicher, Associate Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh

Sarah R. Orem, Doctoral Candidate, Department of English, Managing Editor, Praxis: A Writing Center Journal, The University of Texas at Austin

A. Naomi Paik, Assistant Professor of American Studies, University of Texas, Austin

Thomas C. Patterson, Distinguished Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Riverside

Leslie Peirce, Silver Professor of History, New York University

Ann Pellegrini, Director, Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, Associate Professor of Performance Studies & Religious Studies, New York University

Ruth Perry, Ann Fetter Friedlaender Professor of Humanities at M.I.T.

Russell Pinkston, Professor of Composition, University of Texas, Austin

Jaime Puente, MA CMAS, PhD Student Dept of American Studies, UT Austin.

Peter Rachleff, Professor of History, Macalester College

Natalie J. Ring, Associate Professor of History, University of Texas at Dallas

Rochelle G. Ruthchild, Professor Emerita of Graduate Studies, The Union Institute & University

Sharmila Rudrappa, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Texas, Austin

Roshni Rustomji-Kerns, Professor Emerita, Sonoma State University. CA

Cynthia Valadez-Mata, Jr. , League of United Latin American Citizens – District 7 Director

Simone Sessolo, Lecturer, the University of Michigan

Jon Shelton, Assistant Professor, Democracy and Justice Studies, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Falguni A. Sheth, Associate Professor of Philosophy, and Political Theory, School of Critical Social Inquiry, Hampshire College

Shu-mei Shih, Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, Asian Languages and Cultures, Asian American Studies

Snehal Shingavi, Assistant Professor of English, University of Texas, Austin

Professor Kaja Silverman, History of Art, University of Pennsylvania

Joseph Slaughter, Associate Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

Lindsay Smith, Houston Feminist Movement

Ellen Spiro, Professor, University of Texas, Austin

Clay Steinman, Professor, Media and Cultural Studies,Macalester College

Kathleen Stewart, Professor and Chair of Anthropology, University of Texas

Landon Storrs, Associate Professor of History, University of Iowa

Susan Stryker, Director, Institute for LGBT Studies and Associate Professor, Gender and Women’s Studies University of Arizona

Merritt Tierce, Executive Director of Texas Equal Access Fund

Sarah Tuttle, Board Member, The Lilith Fund

Angela Valenzuela, Professor, Education Policy & Planning, University of Texas at Austin

Alice Walker, Pulitzer PrizeChris Chiappari, Associate Professor of Sociology & Anthropology, St. Olaf College

winner, author of The Color Purple

Jennifer Jensen Wallach, Associate professor of history, University of North Texas

Devra Weber, Associate Professor, History Department, UC Riverside

Dan Welcher, Lee Hage Jamail Regents Professor of Composition, Butler School of Music, Director, UT New Music Ensemble

Amanda Williams, Board of Directors, the Lilith Fund

Dr. Carol Williams, Associate Professor, Chair of Women and Gender Studies, University of Lethbridge

Jennifer Williams, Visiting Scholar at Rice University

Courtney Williams Barron, doctoral candidate in American Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Jennifer Wilks, Associate Professor of English and African and African Diaspora Studies, University of Texas, Austin

Sherry Wolf, author, Sexuality and Socialism; editorial board, International Socialist Review.

Keeanga Yahmatta-Taylor, author of Rats, Riots and Revolution: Black Housing in the 1960s, Texas native

Lijun Yuan, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Texas State University, San Marcos

Lee Zimmerman, Professor of English, Hofstra University; Editor Twentieth-Century Literture

Dave Zirin, Sports Editor, The Nation Magazine

Faith Action for Women in Need (FAWN)

GetEqual TX

NARAL Pro-Choice Texas

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