Defending Our Rights Depends On Us

dc reporoductive rights protest

At a time when women around the world are winning the right to access legal abortion, on June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to turn the clock back to the 1970s.

Five justices, lifetime permanent political appointees, who are not accountable to us, have decided that there is no federally guaranteed right for women and pregnant people to have an abortion. They are willing to force women who have been raped, or are victims of incest, or face a threat to their lives, or who know they can’t provide for a child, to have that child.

This is an attack on a woman’s right to choose, on women’s health, and on women’s lives and futures. It will come down hardest on poor and working class women, especially women of color, and women in rural areas, all of whom already face limited abortion and other healthcare access.

The overturn of Roe is part of a broad right-wing assault on our rights, using the courts and the state legislatures as their weapons. Those politicians and their wealthy backers are organizing to take back many of the rights that were won in the streets through massive mobilizations, over decades. Those struggles forced the politicians to respond and to legalize abortion. But the rights won under the Roe decision have been under attack since the day after the Supreme Court ruled in 1973. And this is not an exception. Legislative and judicial rulings have been reversed once the mobilizations have stopped.

This overturn of Roe v. Wade is not an exception, but part of a concerted attack on many fronts. We are seeing legislation and court decisions suppressing voting rights, enacting new immigration restrictions, removing health and safety and environmental protections, attacks on LGBTQ+ people, and the imposition of restrictions on the educational content taught in our schools.

We are told we live in a democracy — but a democracy for whom? There is no guarantee of your rights unless you are part of the One Percent. This was made very clear to us all by the policies of the politicians and bosses during the Covid pandemic.

We are told we can count on elections and legislation to protect our rights, but how could we believe this? Look at the politicians’ response to the murder of George Floyd — lots of talk but no action, as police murders of Black people rise. Facing the climate catastrophe — lots of talk, but the war in Ukraine is used to justify increased production of fossil fuels. We won’t win or protect our rights by electing Democrats or through their courts. We can only win and keep our rights by mobilizations of our own forces. Or until we change the whole system.

In the face of this latest assault we must respond. The Supreme Court justices, and the politicians who support their immoral decisions, must be made to hear our anger and feel our resolve. They must face consequences for acting against our interests.

Mobilizing in the streets is the first way to show our determination — to ourselves and to others. But demonstrations of our anger will not be enough to convince those who are attacking us to change. We need to take that anger and determination to our workplaces, schools and neighborhoods. We need to organize as broadly as we can, to mobilize all our forces and set them loose!

We are the majority, and when we decide to act, we can force the politicians to reverse course. We are the ones who have the right to decide our future, and to decide if and when we will have children.

Will women have the right to abortions in the future? It is up to us and what we do.

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