Apr 15, 2019
In the industrial heartland, the Governor of Ohio just signed a law that bans abortion at 6 weeks – before most women know they are pregnant! Ohio is the most recent state, but a total of 20 states are in the process of passing laws to outlaw abortion at roughly 6 weeks.
These laws are being strategically passed at the state level, knowing they are illegal, with the goal of having them contested in court. The Republican Governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, stated that the law’s purpose is to reverse the legal precedent of Roe v. Wade, noting, “The United States Supreme Court will ultimately make a decision.”
The 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling made abortion legal in the U.S. The right to an abortion was won, along with other gains for the population, by the social movements that culminated in the early 1970s. The women’s movement, the black movement, and the anti-war movement forced the government to create new social programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, and to open up new rights.
As the social movements peaked in the early 1970s, publicized deaths from illegal abortion put pressure on the Supreme Court. The Roe v. Wade decision was written by a judge appointed by Republican President Nixon!
Ever since nation-wide social movements disappeared from the political scene, well-funded right-wing groups have been chipping away at women’s rights. The Democratic Party courted these groups to pick up votes. In 1977, Democratic President Jimmy Carter signed a law passed by a Democratic Congress, outlawing federal money for abortion. The Hyde Amendment’s restrictions on what Medicaid can cover meant abortion remained accessible if you had money, but much less accessible for the working poor.
Since 1973, over 1000 restrictions on abortion have passed. The right-wing’s strategy was to create ridiculous rules to drive abortion providers out of business and bureaucratic hurdles to undermine access. Restrictions have accumulated to where huge areas of the U.S. have no access to abortion. According to the Journal of Medical Internet Research, about 90 percent of U.S. counties have no abortion provider.
There are currently 20 lawsuits at various stages that could overturn Roe v. Wade. Since January 1, 2019, more than 300 new abortion restrictions have been introduced in state legislatures.
The election of Donald Trump and his promotion of reactionary ideas, along with the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh, has opened the flood gates. A new level of danger has just been introduced at the state level. The Abolition of Abortion in Texas act makes it possible for women to get the death penalty for having an abortion, even in cases of rape and incest! This is nothing but terrorism aimed at women and the population!
There can be no doubt that a minority of vicious extremists wants to push women out of their reproductive healthcare rights. This pack of hyenas has long nibbled away at the body of women’s rights. Now they want to go in for the kill. It will take a mobilization that represents a real fight to stop them.
This movement to the right will not be stopped by who gets elected. It will not be stopped by hoping courts do the right thing. It will only be stopped by a social movement that is willing to fight, no matter what it takes.
Statistically, women make up half of the working class in the U.S. Women, with the help of men, raise the next generation of children with valuable social labor that is unpaid. This move to take away women’s control over their bodies and hinder women’s participation in society is outrageous! And working class women are the most threatened.
Women will need to organize and aim for something as powerful as the 1930s sit-down strikes that took over workplaces and shook the control of the bosses. A fight could start anywhere. But in places like Ohio, the history of the industrial fights of past generations, still in family memory, could be reignited today. Angry women workers could start a fight; initiating a movement to go beyond the limits of today’s society.
The rulers of this society want a world where profit is more important than human life. Women – the producers of human life – are in a unique position to fight for the primacy of human life over profit – for all women, children, and men.