The Spark

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

Who Is Behind the Attacks on Women’s Rights?

Apr 30, 2012

A big source of the organized attack on women has come from the churches. There are lots of fundamentalist churches that oppose both birth control and abortion, and they have often provided the troops for violent attacks on women’s clinics. But it is the Catholic Church that plays the biggest role because it controls so much of the medical system.

Because of the worsening economy, more and more public hospitals have closed, either replaced by or taken over by the Catholic Church. In huge parts of the U.S., the only healthcare facility for miles is a Catholic hospital – a hospital which follows church dogma about women. That means, in large parts of the country, there is no medical facility providing access to birth control or abortion.

“Americans United for Life” is another force in this attack on women’s rights. It is an old organization, founded in 1971, but only recently it experienced a phenomenal increase in funding. Last year it joined with a right wing group that lurks in the shadows, the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, funded by some of the biggest corporations in the country, including AT&T, Coca-Cola, Exxon Mobil, Johnson & Johnson, Koch Industries, Pfizer, Reynolds American, State Farm Insurance, United Parcel Service and Walmart.

In 2011, AUL worked with ALEC to draft 28 anti-abortion bills introduced last year into state legislatures.

AUL was also the primary engine behind the targeting of Planned Parenthood, whose clinics are the only place where many women can go for family planning and other health issues such as screening for breast cancer, cervical cancer and sexually transmitted diseases.

In the fall of 2011, intentionally falsified allegations in an AUL report were used as a pretext by Republican Florida Congressman Cliff Stearns to investigate Planned Parenthood.

That investigation was then used as the pretext by the “Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation,” the pink ribbon breast cancer charity, as its reason for cutting all funding to Planned Parenthood.

Komen, masquerading as an organization that raises money for breast cancer research, in reality is the third big force behind the attack on women’s reproductive rights.

Komen’s CEO, Nancy Brinker, is a major Republican donor who held several positions under George W. Bush, helping to promote anti-abortion legislation.

Faced with real outrage, Komen was forced to reverse its decision. But the whole ordeal exposed top officials of the Komen foundation for what they are: a bunch of right-wingers, virulently opposed to women’s rights.

Some of this country’s wealthiest capitalist families fund reactionary ideas: billionaire families like the Waltons of Walmart, the Koch brothers with oil refineries who now fund the Tea Party movement, the Devos family of Amway fame who push charter schools.

These wealthy families, with deep links into the banking system and control over industry are also behind the attempt to destroy public schools so that charters can replace them and produce profit for businesses. They are behind attacks on cities and unions as a means to privatize all city services, so new business opportunities can be opened up for the wealthy.

What kind of a society are these wealthy families creating for us? A world where schools are less and less able to mention contraception. A world where family planning clinics will either have their funds removed or will be terrorized out of existence.