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Pussy Riot Tour the Fight for Reproductive Rights Across North America

This article was originally published on Respect My Region


Feminist punk insubordinates Pussy Riot are currently spreading the good word of egalitarianism across Canada and the United States with in-your-face demonstrations, explosive stage shows and performance art pieces designed to piss off all the right people.


Halfway through their 22-date North American trek, the troupe has already stirred up quite the ruckus in regions that most strictly abide by lopsided Orthodox values. With a number of shows still left on their itinerary, be sure to catch Masha Alokhina & Co. as they tear through your city and make some much-needed noise.

Last week, founding member Nadya Tolokonnikova, who isn’t part of the touring squad, led the God Save Abortion protest art action at Indiana’s Supreme Court. A preview of a larger reproductive rights campaign that Pussy Riot is preparing to unleash next year, the first installment was in collaboration with students from Indiana University.


The lyrics “Virgin Mary please become a feminist [translated from Russian to English]” call back to the group’s 2012 “Punk Prayer” protest, furthering their emphasis on women’s rights and secularism.

Nadya Tolokonnikova on the Protest in Indiana:


“We came to Indiana because we care about the most vulnerable groups of people — womb-holders who exist in the red states. They are neither seen, nor protected. Indiana was the first state to outlaw most abortions after Roe v. Wade was overturned.


Even 10-year-old rape victims, and those that support them, like doctor Caitlin Bernard, are subject to harassment and intimidation here in Indiana. I never read the version of the Bible where Jesus mocks and humiliates people who are hurt.


The state supreme courts have become the hand and uncontested voice of god. We protest this by paying homage to Martin Luther and delivering our theses, starting with Thesis No. 1: GOD SAVE ABORTION.”

“Our audience is not necessarily people who hate what we stand for, but instead our audience is like-minded people who feel overlooked, unsafe, and unseen. We wish to inspire, organize, and collaborate with these like-minded people, who feel that the government has taken total control of their bodies and their rights.


We work with students — Indiana University in this case — because we want them to vote. Younger population may have lost trust in the system, but we want to inspire and encourage them to take any act of protest, from creating art to speaking up to voting for their rights.


I recently saw the dedication of anti-abortion protestors outside a Planned Parenthood clinic — they show up every day. Our side, our group of activists that want to support and provide safety to our most vulnerable people must match and overtake this dedication – we must hit the streets and that is why we chose to make a loud statement here on the steps of the Supreme Court in Indiana.”

“Pussy Riot has always meant to bring hope to hopeless situations — whenever I fail to see any hope, I turn to art. It helps me to make my message more loud and clear. Art is like a magic wand, it’s a very special instrument. Resist, organize, find like-minded people. And, most importantly, vote. I know you hate the system that failed you, but it’s in your power to change it, even if it seems otherwise.


This anti-abortion trend has reached Russia as well. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, wrote a letter to the State Duma with a request to legally ban abortions in private clinics. According to journalists, the letter was received by the State Duma on November 8, and the next day Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin instructed the Health Protection Committee to consider this proposal.


On November 12, Kirill also publicly supported the initiative of the regions that would introduce a ban on ‘inducing women to have abortions. The Patriarch called for this initiative to be extended to the federal level. According to him, this measure can increase the country’s population as if by moving a magic wand.’”


Pussy Riot’s Demands:

  • We demand the separation church and state

  • We demand that our voices are heard

  • We demand access to LEGAL and SAFE abortion for every person in the United States

  • We demand limitations of government control over our bodies

  • We demand a Pussy Riot representative to be appointed as an official advisor to each state’s supreme court, as experts on the separation of church and state, as well as the importance of bodily autonomy

 

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