Download a print-ready version of this statement here.
May 2, 2022
A leak of a draft majority opinion overturning the historic Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade is circulating in the press. Written by Justice Samuel Alito, the leak confirms what many have suspected: the Supreme Court is poised to overturn federal constitutional protections of abortion rights. If Roe is overturned, 26 U.S. states will likely enact bans on abortion. Freedom Road Socialist Organization condemns in the strongest possible terms this attack on reproductive freedom.
We call on all working class, oppressed, and progressive people to take to the streets and fight for our lives – in some cases literally. Some will argue that nothing can be done outside of electing the “right people” in November. We must act now. What is needed is sustained activity that raises the social cost of stripping our reproductive rights away.
The right to determine if and when one becomes pregnant, and to terminate that pregnancy, is a question of basic bodily autonomy. Women and other people with the ability to become pregnant cannot be free if this basic right is curtailed. This will not be an isolated attack. Restrictions on methods of contraception and assisted reproduction will be next. We can expect anti-abortion states to also criminalize miscarriages and poor pregnancy outcomes. Working class and poor women make up the majority of people getting abortions and will bear the heaviest burden, facing a new reason for criminalization, lack of resources to travel for an abortion, and the risk of injury or death from back-alley abortions. Almost two thirds of abortions are obtained by African American, Chicano, and other oppressed nationality women. Removing the right to abortion would worsen national oppression in the United States.
Many of the so-called constitutional rights we take for granted today date only to the 1960’s, a time when the Civil Rights movement, the Women’s movement, and many other important movements were at a very high level. The right to abortion access, like all the other rights working people in the U.S. have, was won through mass struggle. Only mass struggle will save it. We can look for inspiration to the mass protests for reproductive rights in the 1960’s and 70’s in the United States and the contemporary movement in Latin America. Years of organizing and mobilizations of hundreds of thousands of people led to the legalization of abortion in Argentina in 2020, Mexico in 2021, and Colombia in 2022.
This move by the Supreme Court comes in the context of a wave of reactionary legislation across the country restricting access to abortions and targeting LGBTQ people. Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill and Texas’ moves to criminalize medical treatments for transgender youth are just two examples. Roe v. Wade is also the foundation in US law for the privacy rights of LGBTQ folks. Alito writes in this brief that this decision is only about abortion – we are fooling ourselves if we believe that for a second.
The ideological forces that have taken over the Supreme Court have a much bigger mission. They want a return to the doctrine of ‘States Rights’ as the law of the land. States’ Rights is the historical battle cry of the slaver and the segregationist. There has been a decades-long campaign, beginning in earnest with Ronald Reagan, to overturn federally guaranteed Civil Rights and put states back in command. This is a bombshell in that war, and has broad implications beyond reproductive freedom.
We must organize and mobilize thousands to take to the streets and show the ruling class that if they try to take our reproductive rights away, we will take them back, by any means necessary.
We will not go back!
Prepare to fight!