Andrew MacPherson 0

Stop religious intolerance and the violations of women's' Constitutional Rights

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Marie Stopes is women's clinic offering an array of health services to women that include provision for contraceptives, pregnancy care, testing for HIV and STIs, pap smears and abortion. Many women, particularly young poor black women use the services of Marie Stopes. On the Marie Stopes website, there are personal testimonials from women who speak highly about the services they have received when in many instances they had nowhere else to turn.

In a country rife with gender inequality and where women endure such lived experiences that include domestic abuse, rape, misogyny and intense regulation of their bodies and sexualities, Marie Stope clinics and alike are exemplary democratic institutions who are positively intervening and attempting to attenuate the societal challenges faced by women. In this era of neo-liberalism, where the devotion to profit is subordinate to progressive social institutions, Marie Stopes Clinics are a revitalizing presence in our society and the work they do and the resources they provide for women cannot be extolled enough.

Every day for almost two years, an extremist fundamentalist religious group has blatantly digressed from the democratic rights of these women. A man named Peter parks his red van, festooned in bigoted, archaic, violent and hateful comments on the doorstep of the clinic, poised perfectly to inflict the most damage to the psyches of already vulnerable women. The truck bears slogans intended to induce guilt and fear in the women visiting the clinic. The clinic has sought legal recourse against this man and his organisation, however the man and his van disregard this and continue to flaunt their bigotry. The choice of a woman and her body belong to HER and not to man, myth, church or religion.

As feminists, it is our firmly held belief that the religious explanations under-pinning this passive aggressive response by the church group is mere a veil whose function is to conceal patriarchal and sexist motivation behind their harassing behaviour.

Accordingly, we call on you to sign this petition in support of our letter to Mayor Patricia de Lille to live up to the values of our constitution, those of the right to dignity and to reproductive freedom, bodily integrity, democracy and personal choice.

It is only in unity that our voices can be heard. A collective cry echoes through the valleys and together we can ensure that our city is welcoming and all-inclusive.

Thank you.

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