Nine unelected people are deciding whether to overturn the legal basis for abortion, which is already in shreds. They might chicken out and “just” shred it even further. Either way, something fundamental to our bodily autonomy is gone, gone, gone.
For millions in this country, forced birth is the default, if they don’t have the money and time to cross state lines for a basic medical procedure. And millions don’t. That’s by design. Decades of austerity, a crushed labor movement, and mass incarceration, enacted by Democrats and Republicans alike, show us this.
What comes next? It can’t look anything like the mainstream repro movement today. No more illusions about what courts and electeds will deliver us. They will have to follow the lead of the people instead.
We’re grateful for this message from Monica Simpson of SisterSong (quoted in the Times): “If you want something that you don’t have, good folks, then you better be willing to do something that you have never done.”
Here are five starting points for doing something that we have never done.
The fight for abortion has nothing to do with fetal life
Eyes off their fetal fantasies. We’re not negotiating with the state about the month and day when we transform from free people into vessels for gestating babies we don’t want or can’t have.
THE FIGHT FOR ABORTION IS ABOUT WHO OWNS OUR LABOR
New and pernicious strains of “pro-life feminism” appropriate left-ish language to, among other things, frame abortion as a tool for exploiting workers (because apparently bosses love it when we have control over our bodies and futures?).
At the same time, antis made the case before the supreme court today that because women’s rights have gained so much ground since 1973, we no longer need abortion to be free. It’s laughable but they’re onto something: Democrats and the mainstream abortion movement have been all about finding the right balance of girl-boss and forced birth since they first decided that the latter for poor people was an acceptable compromise with the Hyde Amendment in 1977.
Create big profits for bosses AND more underpaid workers for them against our will: in 2021 we can finally have it all!
Until the left takes up the fight for abortion as essential for the freedom and dignity of working people everywhere, basic bodily autonomy will remain a privilege of the rich and white. And the left will continue to miss a profound opportunity to wage a truly multiracial and liberatory fight that brings together women, LGBTQ people, and the working class.
THE FIGHT FOR ABORTION IS ABOUT WHO OWNS OUR BODIES
It sounds obvious, but the ease with which our culture accepts mass street harassment as a natural and unavoidable facet of the abortion experience instead of an appalling outrage that demands urgent solutions suggests that it’s not. This is because of misogyny, on the left, right, and everywhere.
THE FIGHT FOR ABORTION STRIKES AT THE HEART OF THE RIGHT
After the civil rights movement made it unacceptable to openly unify around racial segregation, the right needed a new rallying cry and moral high ground. So they invented fetal personhood, appropriated the human rights language and tactics of that very same civil rights movement, and built a coalition that brings together every single strand of the right, from everyday churchgoers to militant white supremacists.
No more tiptoeing around. The anti-abortion movement is at the heart of the right’s political mobilizing. It provides cover for naked ugly white supremacy. We have to fight back on those terms.
THE FIGHT FOR ABORTION CONNECTS US TO MILLIONS OF FEMINISTS AROUND THE WORLD
In the past few years, attacks on abortion have animated world-historic uprisings in Poland, Ireland, and across Latin America. Right-wing governments are coercing our repro labor all over the world and after decades of neoliberalism squeezing us for paid labor too people are saying NO MORE. By the millions! Time to join them.