A recent draft opinion from the Supreme Court reviewing women’s right to abortion was leaked to the press. The document makes it clear that it is very likely the Court is preparing to reverse the right to abortion that was established by the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. This would remove any federally protected right to abortion and allow each state to pass its own legislation restricting abortion. The right of women to control their own bodies would then be even more reduced than it already is.
In reality, access to abortion is already a struggle for many women. About 90% of counties in the U.S. do not have an abortion clinic. Many states have already passed very restrictive laws, and the Supreme Court’s action will leave them free to do as they please. At least 25 states will likely have abortion bans if this Supreme Court decision goes through.
The right to abortion has never been widely available to women in the U.S., even after the passage of Roe v. Wade. It varies greatly depending on what part of the U.S. you live in, if you’re in a rural or urban community, and on your economic status and racial identity. It depends on whether you have health insurance that covers an abortion, who runs the health services in your area, and whether they provide abortions. And this new decision will only make access to abortion services even worse.
This is a major new attack on our rights, rights that were won in the streets through massive mobilizations that forced the politicians to respond. But these rights have been under attack since the day the Court ruled on Roe v. Wade. And now comes this new major threat on women’s reproductive freedom and on women’s overall lives and health. This also an attack on the lives and future of children.
We are seeing similar attacks on other rights that have been won over the past years — the suppression of voting rights, new restrictions on immigration, attacks on the LGTBQ community, and restrictions on the educational content in our schools.
Who has a right to decide what we do with our bodies?
Not the Supreme Court, with its nine judges who sit behind a mahogany bench in front of plush red drapes with marble floors. They are not elected, their arguments are not televised, and they cannot be removed by popular demand. And under this system, they supposedly have the right to decide everything from abortion rights to voting rights to health care access. They have no right to decide for us.
And not the right-wing politicians, funded by the billionaires and corporate interests who mouth words about the “right to life” while they refuse to fund education, health care, or affordable housing. But they never hesitate to give billons to the banks and corporations and the military. No — they have no right to decide for us.
We are the only ones who should have the right to choose whether we have a child or not.
We need to organize and fight
We can despair at their upcoming decision, or we can learn from the recent fights for abortion rights in Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico: activists took to the streets by the millions to decriminalize abortion and win the legalization of abortion rights.
It was women’s collective struggle that won abortion rights in 1973. Before Roe v. Wade and continuing today, there have also been women around the U.S. organizing to provide women’s health services and abortions outside of the official health services, in blatant defiance of these backward rules and laws. And we have every right and reason to do this today.
This Supreme Court decision in no way represents the interests of the majority in the U.S., where every poll shows support for a woman’s right to have an abortion.
We can not and must not allow nine judges and a handful of right-wing politicians to determine our future. We can and must organize and mobilize in the streets to say: Our bodies, Our lives, Our choice.