Abortion On Demand, Without Apology
Published on 06-11-2019
On the heels of the collapse of neoliberalism, one of the greatest social and economic crises of our time, the working class has been subject to increasingly brutal attacks in the form of massive cuts to social programs, unprecedented levels of poverty and inequality, police brutality, the expansion of the carceral state, the criminalization and scapegoating of immigrant families and children, threats to LGBTQIA+ rights and violent attacks against minorities and people of color. For many, barbarism is not a remote possibility, it is a painful reality. In this context, the current attacks on reproductive freedom should be both shocking and unsurprising. Maintaining the traditional bourgeois family and the exploitation of women's bodies and labor under capitalism is central to the state apparatus. At the same time, capitalism is no longer able to sustain working families and we are facing a crisis of both reproduction and care. More and more people are choosing to avoid having children due to the outlandish costs of childcare, education, housing, healthcare and childbirth. Even more young people are rejecting traditional marriage, monogamous relationships, heteronormative identities and binary gender norms which have typically been necessary for the division of labor and reproduction of the bourgeois family unit. It is precisely and inevitably at this moment of crisis that the issue of reproduction is coming to a head.
Since the affirmation of abortion as a constitutional right in 1973, right-wing politicians and the 'pro-life' movement have worked tirelessly to erode access to safe, affordable and legal abortion care. This has included passing hundreds of laws intended to limit access to abortion based on an individual's income, insurance and length of pregnancy as well as outlawing specific medical procedures, regulation of abortion providers and cutting funding for providers and clinics. The whittling away of the legal right to abortion has first and foremost affected marginalized working class women, women of color and women living in poverty. This erosion has been enabled by politicians across the partisan divide. While Republicans have actively led the charge against reproductive rights and freedom, Democratic electeds have historically offered more concession than resistance. In some cases, Democrats have participated in outright collusion with their Republican cohorts. This month, Louisiana Democratic governor John Bel Edwards signed a 'heartbeat bill' into law, making it the sixth state to attempt a near-total abortion ban.
Banning and restricting access to safe and legal abortion won't protect life. These bills are meant to punish and dominate, and to limit and constrain the agency of pregnant people. They will not reduce the maternal mortality rate, or prevent the 45% of preventable pregnancy-related deaths. They will not provide greater access to life-saving healthcare or help parents provide for their children's food, shelter and education. They won't create jobs and livelihoods to sustain families. The are meant to control and intimidate. More importantly, given the unconstitutional nature of these bills, they are clearly part of a concerted effort to bring the Roe v. Wade decision back into consideration by the US Supreme Court, where a conservative majority is in the position to reverse a decades-old protection, and send the whole country back to a dangerous and oppressive status quo.
These conditions are unacceptable. The fight for abortion access should be understood as a necessary part of a broader movement for basic rights, freedoms, and justice for working people. As socialists, we understand that abortion is not just a constitutional right, but a human right necessary for the emancipation of women and the working class. We also understand that politicians and NGOs are a poor substitute for a mass movement of working class people working to liberate ourselves. The fight for abortion rights, reproductive freedom and women's liberation will be fought for by our communities and in our streets. It will be carried out through projects of mutual aid, direct action, organizing our workplaces, civil disobedience, mass protests and strikes.
The Greater Baltimore Socialists of America stands in solidarity with the movement for reproductive freedom and in support of DSA's Socialist-Feminist National Working Group proposal for a National Week of Action for Reproductive Justice June 22nd-June 30th, 2019. Ways to fight back:
Conduct Anti-Crisis Pregnancy Center Work:
This can include: flyering crisis pregnancy centers, exposing fake clinics and facilities using search engines and social media, working with the Digital Defense Fund to match CPC locations from a list of names and addresses to their 990 data: https://digitaldefensefund.org/
Defend Clinics Digitally:
File public information requests to find out how police handled anti-choice protests and any subsequent arrests. Help the Digital Defense Fund gather information on "bad ads" that navigate searches to misleading anti-choice sites. Check google business, google places and Yelp results for legitimate abortion providers to boost their search results. Spread the list of legitimate clinics at: https://ineedana.com/
Raise money for abortion funds:
Many people travel to Maryland to obtain abortions from other states.
Baltimore Abortion Fund (BAF): https://baltimoreabortionfund.nationbuilder.com/donate
The DC Abortion Fund (DCAF): https://dcabortionfund.org/
Many of our comrades in southern states are doing important work.
Donate to YellowHammer fund here: https://yellowhammerfund.org/
The New Orleans Abortion Fund here: https://www.neworleansabortionfund.org/
Sister Song: https://sistersong.nationbuilder.com/donate
National Funds and Organizations:
Attend an in-person fundraiser for the YellowHammer fund in Baltimore! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/yellowhammer-abortion-fund-show-tickets-62048154701?aff=efbeventtix&fbclid=IwAR01tg91yY2tTkWAyozfX5jqMS-_HJ5U0wHHb65ZAqZ_k6Yxgi73LyIeyE0
Host an educational or story-sharing event
Host a Speak Out event where people share their abortion stories in the tradition of the Redstockings and the Shout Your Abortion movement. Organize a film screening and discussion about abortion rights. Suggested films: I Had An Abortion, Trapped, She's Beautiful When She's Angry.
Plan for a general strike
NYC-DSA's socialist feminist branch is calling on DSA chapters to plan for the implementation of a general strike if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court. Contact Jlaureljames@gmail.com to get involved. Contact DSA's SFWG to get involved on a national level: firstname.lastname@example.org and GBDSA's Socialist Feminist - LGBTQIA+ Caucus to get involved on a local level: email@example.com