NWROC in Albany

From the Body Politic
Issue: January, 1994
Title: NWROC in Albany
Author: Anne Bower

The National Women's Rights Organizing Coalition, the ACT-UP of the pro-choice movement, held its fourth national conference in Albany, New York December 3-5. NWROC (pronounced en - rock), now in its third year, has gotten a reputation for direct, sometimes violent confrontation with police, and anti-choice protestors.

NWROC was formed in early 1990, after the Supreme Court's decision in Webster made it clear that abortion rights were under serious threat. The Plan of Action for the Battle for Reproductive Rights was adopted at the 1st National Clinic Defense Conference in Detroit, Michigan March 25, 1990. It proclaimed, "A war on women has been declared - We can defeat it if we dare!". One of the original organizations participating in NWROC's birth was the Detroit Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party.

Members in NWROC are mostly under twenty-five, with a few shadowy older women in the background. Their youth and disaffection from the rest of the pro-choice movement, which they condemn, makes them very visible at demonstrations. At their last conference in Albany in 1992, the mainstream pro-choice community felt that NWROC was responsible for closing the local Planned Parenthood because of scuffles with the police in front of the clinic.

The 1993 conference with about 40 youth in attendance, was less dramatic, but conducted in the same mode as previous ones. There were workshops galore. Everything from The Fight Against Fascism to The Fight Against Racist, Anti-Immigrant Attacks. All presenters were referred to by first name only. The conference brochure claimed that NWROC's "fighters" defeated Operation Rescue. The language used in outlining action plans speaks of "oppressed groups" and "capitalist politicians", "struggle" and "militant mass action".

If the conference brochure can be believed, those young people have been very busy, because, "NWROC is the most effective, most dynamic, most militant, most integrated, and most youthful activist organization on the American progressive political scene today." The group targeted for organizing in 1994 is high school students.

A call to their Hotline on December 19, yielded the message that the National Conference would be held December 3-5. NWROC must be too busy organizing the masses to change the tape.

Go Back to Shy David's Abortion Page.