Ever since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, the religious right in the United States has waged unrelenting war on the right of women to bodily autonomy, often using terroristic tactics in its war. With the rise of Donald Trump, buoyed by the unwavering support of christian extremists who care more about persecuting minorities and women than Trump’s own failures in character, the issue has been turned over “to the states,” effectively subjecting all those women living in republican-controlled states to the whims of predominantly white, male, and ultra-conservative state government officials.
Let it be said openly that the legislation signed into law in Alabama is cruel, black-hearted barbarism. To refuse abortion rights to victims of incestual abuse and rape, and to punish doctors who seek to perform safe and healthy abortions with decades more jail time than a rapist is an open manifestation of patriarchy and the rotten heart of religious fundamentalism in the United States. Those who write off children thrown in a barbed-wire encircled concentration camp for crossing the border deify a zygote. Those babies that become women should not be allowed to access abortion in cases of incest and rape because, as fascist Matt Walsh absurdly claimed, that would destroy “evidence.”
But the outrageous and barbarous nature of the anti-abortion legislation popping up in conservative states should not push the goal posts to the right, as some moderate democrats have allowed for. For Pelosi and many other moderate democrats, abortion is no longer a “litmus test” issue, and routine attacks on abortion are within the bounds of the party’s ideology. This is how Obama moderation works: by openly opposing only extreme manifestations of fascist policy, and attacking the “purity” of leftists who stand vehemently by their principles, the body politic of the country shifts right. No longer is abortion a make or break issue for Pelosi’s democrats—supporting abortion for rape victims is. Trump’s mistreatment of immigrants is barbaric, but Obama’s abuse of immigrants was within the bounds. There are countless examples. This is how the Democratic Party has and will abandon working class people in an attempt to appeal to moderate republican voters.
In the wake of the Alabama legislation, and similar legislation that will likely crop up in “red states” across the country, we say emphatically that safe abortions are the right of all women, no matter the circumstance. We will not allow the right wing and liberals to creep the discourse right, and write out of the discussion that abortion is a universal right. And while liberals scoff at the barbarity taking place in “red states,” working people in those states will continue to suffer. A recent poll revealed that only about a quarter of women in Alabama support banning abortion in all cases, which is line with the statistics from around the country. Those states that restrict access to birth control, comprehensive sexual education, and abortion also see the highest teen pregnancy rates. While wealthy Alabamians will find ways to circumvent the law and avoid repercussions, working class women will suffer under increased police persecution, already under the burden of skyrocketing education, career-training, and healthcare costs.
Because that is ultimately the goal of this legislation, and the goal of fascists: to restrict the autonomy of women, designate their role as strictly domestic, and hamper their career, educational, and creative ambitions. Republicans and their fascist allies clearly do not care about the livelihoods of children—they actively endorse the brutalization and death of immigrant children. No, the issue is not the lives of children—it is the subjugation of working class women. Fascists have sought this since the very beginning. In 1933, the Nazi government discouraged women from seeking higher education, and put many women in domestic skills and German culture classes rather than the standard curriculum. The ideal woman in Nazi Germany was the child-rearing mother, securing the future of the race. An educated, empowered, and struggling woman, who exercises autonomy over her destiny and body, is a threat to fascist ideology, and it is why they fought and are fighting so vehemently to hamper such a person’s development and freedom.
At the crossroads of many of the issues we face in the contemporary US—from the rise of fascism, to the struggles of working people to subsist and survive, to healthcare costs, to the war on women, to the failure of the democratic party to stand in a meaningful way by working people across the country—lies the current attack on abortion rights. The fascists continue to sow division between people and workers, and target those sectors of the working class that have been torch-bearers: women, organized labor, immigrants, and more. To fight the rising tide of fascism in the US, we must respond with the antithesis of fascism: working class unity, and a movement that aims to undermine all those things that play a part in denying women the right to abortion. Women across the country, no matter where they are from, or the circumstances of their pregnancy, have the right to chose their destiny, to decide when and if they want to have children, and to, above all else, exercise autonomy over their own body.
The fascists are on the march against women’s rights, and we will respond—with the momentum of the largest marches in the history of the country in our sails. Our targets are not only those misogynistic and patriarchal lawmakers who restrict abortion rights to barbaric levels, but also the bosses who harass their employees with impunity and deny equal pay or maternity leave, administrators who deny students access to sexual education and birth control, the legal system that favors rapists over victims, and moderate, establishment liberals like Nancy Pelosi who make fundamental human rights a “fading” issue.