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May 4, 22

Protests Erupt Across the US As Supreme Court Moves to Overturn Roe vs Wade

photo: @VPS_Reports

Thousands rallied and hit the streets on Tuesday, after a draft report was leaked by Politico from the US Supreme Court stating, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision . . . Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.” This ruling is likely to be part of a larger attack on a slew of civil rights protected under the “right to privacy,” which includes everything from access to contraceptives, gay marriage, an end to so-called anti-sodomy laws, and the separation of church and State.

As one report wrote:

Beyond the right to an abortion, a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe will open the door for a frontal assault on a whole series of established democratic rights known as “unenumerated rights” because they were not explicitly mentioned in the text of the Constitution, which was ratified in 1788. Alito’s position, that there is no right to an abortion because it was not in the original Bill of Rights, can be applied just as well to every other right established over the course of the development of modern society, including the right to a public defender, the abolition of anti-miscegenation laws, bans on mandatory prayer in schools, and the right to gay marriage.

If Roe v Wade is overturned or drastically attacked, poor and working-class people, especially in communities of color – people already impacted the most under the pandemic and the subsequent economic fallout, will be hurt the hardest. Such a reality will force many to seek out unsafe and potentially deadly methods such as many have been forced to do in the past. States, such as Texas, which have pushed for the criminalization of both those getting an abortion and providers, will create an increased atmosphere of potential far-Right violence, state repression, and overall fear over yet another aspect of daily life.

As Natasha Lennard wrote in The Intercept:

More women and pregnant people will suffer and die; poor people of color will be affected in disproportionate numbers…The blame lies squarely with the powerful Christian right, aided and abetted by cynical fascoid right-wingers, who have set their sights on pregnant peoples’ bodily autonomy for decades. They will not respond to our rage and protests. They will push on with their authoritarian agenda. Despite claims to states’ rights in the leaked opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, there is clear evidence that if Republicans retake Congress in November, they will seek to pass a federal abortion ban.

This leak comes hot on the heels of a flurry of anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion bills across the US that have attacked and criminalized reproductive freedom, healthcare, and the LGBTQ community. Democrats have predictably responded with calls to donate and vote in the 2022 midterms while also refusing to amend the filibuster and enshrine abortion rights into law. Moreover, as some states may potentially move to protect abortion access and those coming into the state to receive services while others push to criminalize them, we continue to hurdle towards a situation much like what existed before the civil war.

As Lennard wrote:

26 states are ready with laws to enact abortion bans when Roe is undone and are passing ever more elaborate ways to criminalize abortions. Over a dozen of these states recently passed bans in their legislatures; other laws predate Roe but remain on the books and could snap back into effect. At present, only 16 states and Washington, D.C., have laws that actively protect the right to abortion.

Major interstate court battles along these lines are set to erupt after Roe — from the policing of women and other pregnant peoples’ interstate travel, to the functioning of telehealth services that can prescribe abortion pills across state lines, to the criminalization of those who share resources and material support to aid abortions.

The push to criminalize reproductive health comes amidst a backdrop of a massive transfer of wealth and record breaking corporate profits following two years of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Amidst rising inflation, skyrocketing rents, the ratcheting up of repression at home and a push to war abroad along with a growing climate crisis, the elites have doubled down on a push towards the Right by embracing a culture war which further demonizes a host of manufactured threats in an effort to distract the population from its real enemies.

And if and when Roe vs Wade is repealed, according to the Washington Post:

Leading antiabortion groups and their allies in Congress have been meeting behind the scenes to plan a national strategy that would kick in if the Supreme Court rolls back abortion rights this summer, including a push for a strict nationwide ban on the procedure if Republicans retake power in Washington.

The task ahead for those taking to the streets in defense of reproductive autonomy is several fold. First, we can’t allow the bureaucratic Left groups to march people in circles and into the ground – killing any chance of momentum, direct action, and self-organization generalizing and actually being able to confront power and capital. Second, we’re going to have to build, organize, and spread a grassroots culture and infrastructure of mutual aid and the sharing of resources in the face of crisis. Similar movements and projects in the recent past already point to what’s possible.

We must also work to not only point out the failure of the State to defend and protect freedom and autonomy, but also the pitfalls of both an electoral strategy in protecting gains made by mass movements and “resistance” led and contained by the non-profit industrial complex, directly tied to the Democratic Party. We must do this while also not losing faith in our own ability to resist state repression and self-organize to meet our own needs.

As CrimethInc. wrote:

This catastrophe compels us to confront the law itself as something hostile to us. If you are a person who might ever need an abortion—or if you care about a person who might—or if you believe that people deserve bodily self-determination, the state is your enemy. This system has given a handful of individuals, including at least two unrepentant sexual predators, the power to block abortion access to millions of people across the country. This is consistent with the explicitly misogynist and anti-trans agenda of the Republican Party and the systematic complicity of the Democratic Party.

What follows is a roundup of recent actions in defense of reproductive freedom and autonomy across the so-called US. Many cities saw some of the largest protests since the George Floyd rebellion. Portland, Oregon and Austin, Texas saw rowdy demonstrations and Los Angeles, California saw police attacking demonstrators as de-arrests were made. On the University of North Texas campus, students successfully pushed out a group of Proud Boys who were acting as security for a group of self-described “Christian fascists.”

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