by The Spark
Just about every week Republican-controlled state governments have put a new, extreme anti-abortion bill on the table. Eight states have already passed anti-abortion laws this year, including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, Arkansas and Utah, with more on the way. This is a major national campaign of the Republican Party.
These bills are sadistic and vicious. In Alabama, the law says doctors can be sentenced to a 99-year prison term. In Georgia, the law says women should be treated as criminals and prosecuted, as does the most recent bill now being considered in Louisiana. In Texas, a bill is now being debated that considers all abortions to be murder, making any woman found guilty eligible for the death penalty.
Republicans claim that these laws are “pro-life.” But in reality they will be used to destroy life – the lives of women, doctors and health care providers. Republicans say they are for “small government.” What a joke! They want the politicians, bureaucrats, courts and police to impose themselves on the most private and difficult decision a woman can make – to turn a doctor’s visit into a matter of state. As for those laws which make exceptions for rape and incest, they still leave it up to cops or politicians to judge, blaming the victim in order to impose ultimate control.
Certainly, for all kinds of reasons, some oppose abortion. That is their right. But don’t try to impose it on others. Don’t let the government decide for women what they should and shouldn’t do.
These newest laws have yet to go into effect. But they have two immediate goals. First, Republicans have written them in a way to get the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortions. Now that they have Brett Kavanaugh on the bench, they are pressing the issue. But even if they don’t get exactly what they want from the Supreme Court, the politicians aim to use the abortion issue in order to mobilize the Republican electorate for the 2020 elections.
In other words, they are destroying the lives of women in order to gain greater political power and further their own ambitions. At a time when working peoples’ living standards are being ground down for the profit of the capitalist class, with the help of both political parties, abortion is a perfect issue for the Republicans to use to distract and divide the population and the workforce against itself. After all, women make up more than half the population and the workforce.
Don’t look to the Democrats as a protection. This is because the Democrats have worked with the Republicans repeatedly to limit a woman’s right to choose, starting with the Hyde Amendment in 1976, which deprives women of federal money to pay for an abortion, an attack aimed directly at women from the working class. On top of that, the Democrats demobilize people by telling people to look to the elections, to the politicians and judges to protect them.
That is a trap. No politicians or judges granted the most basic rights that women have. Women have had to fight for those rights themselves. Women have carried out these fights in the women’s movement, as well as in other battles of the working class, including the fight against racist oppression. This has been true since the time of slavery.
The problem is that in capitalist society, no rights, no gains are permanent. The capitalists run this society for their own profit, including profit from the exploitation of women workers, who are half the workforce. On top their paid jobs, women return home to raise future generations and take care of the family. All this is unpaid labor that the capitalist class also profits greatly from.
The attacks against women are part of the capitalists’ war against the working class, a war that is dragging us back to conditions like in the Dark Ages. Nobody’s rights are safe until the working class finally does away with capitalism all together.
The Spark is a Marxist workers’ organisation and newspaper in the USA. The above piece is the editorial in the latest issue of the paper (May 27 – June 10); see here.