The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Necessary Health Care

Feb 18, 2019

During President Trump’s State of the Union speech in February, he mentioned New York’s recently passed abortion law. He lied. He said lawmakers, “cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.” President Trump was misrepresenting a law that just passed in New York State and a law that has stalled in Virginia.

New York’s 2019 Reproductive Health Act de-criminalizes abortion. The New York Civil Liberties Union explained: “It takes abortion out of the criminal code and puts it where women’s health belongs – in public health law.”

A full-term pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. No matter what the legal status, abortions after 24 weeks have always been rare. According to federal studies, the number of abortions at or after 21 weeks of pregnancy has been 1.3 percent for decades.

In the medical world, “late term” means a pregnancy went beyond 41 weeks. During a recent interview on CNN, Dr. Barbara Levy of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists explained, “Abortions do not occur in this time period, so the phrase [late-term abortion] is contradictory ... It’s important to note, if a woman’s health or life is at risk and the fetus is viable, delivery is pursued, not abortion.”

“Abortions later in pregnancy” is how doctors describe the rare after-24-weeks situations. Most often, the mother’s health is in danger or fetal problems were discovered late.

According to Dr. Levy, catastrophes leading to late pregnancy abortions include situations where a fetus is missing half of the brain, the brain has no skull, or a fetus has internal organs outside the body cavity.

Having an abortion late in pregnancy is a devastating experience. No one wants to go through this! Trump attempts to heap slander and shame upon women who have been traumatized!

This is a sick thing that Republicans are doing to try and rally their voting base for the 2020 elections. Yet what Democrats propose to defend abortion rights is inadequate at best. There have been many times in the 46 years since the Roe v Wade case made abortion legal when the Democrats controlled Congress and the presidency. Democrats could have made abortion a medical instead of a criminal issue on the national level, but they never did.

If Roe v. Wade gets struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, the question of abortion will then go back to being decided on a state-by-state basis.

This would be a retreat for women’s rights. The rights that women have today were won through the struggles of past generations. If these rights are to remain, it will only happen through mobilization and struggle – and not just through narrow legal changes.