By the time you read this, the Supreme Court of the United States may have already overturned Roe v. Wade. That 1973 ruling established the right to an abortion through the first two trimesters and into the third, with exceptions, as a constitutional right to privacy. Now, amid toxic culture wars about gender and sexuality, six conservative justices and the increasingly reactionary Republican Party are attacking women’s bodily autonomy.
Socialists around the country leaped into action when a draft of the decision was leaked in May.
The Wilmington, NC chapter held a series of demonstrations. DSA members in Western Montana led a 500-person rally. And at the capital, the Metro D.C. chapter rallied at the steps of SCOTUS, carrying a banner declaring that “While Dems snooze on abortion, working women lose.”
Stuck between a pro-choice public and the Republicans, the Democratic Party seems content to fundraise, but not to fight. At our campaign’s website protectabortion.org, DSA writes that the way to defend and advance reproductive rights “is by building working class movements of the majority that can contest power at the ballot box, in our workplaces, and in the streets.”
The Atlanta chapter has been canvassing and recruiting neighbors and coworkers to organize. Writing for their blog, an ATLDSA member points out the hypocrisy of the “prolife” Republicans: “Supporting pro-life policy would mean taxing the rich to fund universal public programs like Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, housing for all, and paying all people a living wage.”
Why does this issue matter to so many DSA members? Our feminist commitments come from the many comrades and the family we know and our shared fight for equality and freedom. The Hyde amendment, which denies federal funding for abortions, made clear what the Right’s priorities are. Controlling reproduction— whether or when one may have children—means continuing the patriarchy. This agenda of social control will roll back hard-fought rights for women and queer workers.
Last year, members of the Tidewater chapter in Virginia helped start a local abortion fund that was ready to respond. And all around the country, DSA members have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for abortion funds in the last few years.
In the U.S. political system, as few as five men can disastrously affect the lives of tens of millions of women. The institutions of our government insult democracy and prevent women from controlling their own lives. Socialists do not want Roe to be overturned. But we must also demand a legal right to abortion that is based on collective liberation, not just individual privacy. Making abortion illegal won’t stop abortions; it will just make them life-threatening or even more out of reach for the poor while they are safe and available for the rich. We will only win this class war by ensuring that all people can freely choose the course of their own lives. There is no “choice” without access to birth control, adequate prenatal care, paid parental leave, universal childcare, and decent public education.
Free abortion, on demand, without apology!