Response to Attack on Women’s Rights Has Been Inadequate; Mobilizing Majority Sentiment In Favor of Roe v. Wade Needed
By Nancy Rosenstock
CHICAGO, March 8, 2022—“Now is the time to get back out into the streets and stay in the streets,” said Linda Loew, a leader of Chicago for Abortion Rights, at the kick-off rally on March 5 to honor International Women’s Day and demand that the Supreme Court uphold Roe v. Wade.
Chicago for Abortion Rights initiated the march and rally that was co-hosted by thirteen other organizations, including Chicago National Organization for Women (NOW), Clinic Vest Project, Illinois Single-Payer Coalition, and Pride Without Prejudice, to name a few.
The demonstration of approximately 125 people assembled on Chicago’s Northside in front of the Center on Halsted, which serves the LGBTQ community. Among the themes of the event was that an attack on abortion rights is an attack on all and that a setback on this front is a setback for all.
Inspired by the victory in Colombia in February that decriminalized abortion, many rally participants wore green in solidarity. The color green has become a symbol of the growing movement internationally for women’s right to choose abortion.
Andy Thayer, a longtime LGBTQ and anti-war activist and co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network, explained in a press release prior to the march, “The right to control our own bodies is one that LGBTQ people hold dear. If we lose the right to legal abortion, all of us will find a host of other rights soon on the chopping block.”
Ashabi Owagboriaye, an organizer with Pride Without Prejudice, the group that organized an inclusive Pride Month march the past two years as an alternative to the corporate-dominated Pride Parade, explained at the opening rally: “This fight will not stop here. Not until we can get the reproductive rights that we all need.”
Also speaking at the opening rally, Danaka Katovich, a national organizer with the anti-war group Code PINK, said, “A just world would be one where any person who needs an abortion can get one safely, legally and free. We know what is best for ourselves, not members of Congress, and not Supreme Court justices.”
As car horns sounded in solidarity and onlookers cheered, marchers chanted, “When abortion rights are under attack, what do we do, fight back!” The close to two-mile march concluded with a short rally at DePaul University where greetings from the different co-hosting organizations were heard.
Press coverage was extensive with footage on the local ABC, CBS, and NBC stations; an article in Windy City Times; Rebellious Magazine; and DePaulia, the student newspaper at DePaul University.
The unrelenting assault on the right to choose abortion
The New York Times featured an article in its March 8 issue, titled “Expecting Roe’s Fall, States Race to Curb Abortion.”
Without mincing words, the article opens with this: “Both sides of the abortion debate anticipate that come July, the Supreme Court will have overturned Roe v. Wade and with it the constitutional right to abortion.”
The Supreme Court is preparing to rule sometime this spring on the 15-week abortion ban adopted by the state of Mississippi, as well as the even more restrictive law the court has already given a green light to in Texas. Meanwhile, attacks on the right to choose abortion continue and escalate. On March 3, the Florida legislature passed a bill that would also ban abortions after fifteen weeks.
All three state laws are a direct challenge to the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, that established the legal right to abortion throughout the U.S.
As if the six-week or fifteen-week bans were not enough, some state legislatures are discussing going one step further. While most abortion bills allow a woman to terminate her pregnancy if her life is in danger, a proposal made to the Oklahoma legislature states that even if a pregnant woman “claims” that she intends to kill herself if she cannot get an abortion, a medical provider should not be allowed to terminate the pregnancy. This proposed bill even goes so far as to classify abortion as homicide.
More than one-half of all abortions in the United States today are medication abortions involving a two-pill process, not a surgical procedure. This popular method, proven to be safe, is available through telemedicine. This is now being restricted.
Nineteen states have now banned telemedicine visits for medication abortion.
The South Dakota state legislature passed a bill on March 2 that would require an extra in-person visit to a licensed abortion facility to receive the pills.
Despite this assault, as states chip away at the right to obtain an abortion, polls indicate that two-thirds of Americans think that abortion laws are too strict and agree that Roe v. Wade should not be overturned. This sentiment has not always been true, the New York Times article reported. In the past two decades, the Times wrote, polls showed that most Americans did not think the laws were strict enough.
‘The Democratic Party has failed us’
“I have not given up on Roe v. Wade,” Thayer said at the rally. “If there is one thing we can learn from the drip, drip erosion of access to abortion, it’s that the Democratic Party which promised to defend Roe v. Wade, has failed us. The politicians have failed us. The courts have failed us. We can’t sit back and hope they will save us. It’s people just like you who were the ones who won abortion rights in the past.”
What all supporters of the right to choose abortion need to do now is to organize in the coming months to defend Roe and oppose these attacks. We need to mobilize our power in the streets. We are at a critical juncture. The response to this attack on women’s rights has so far been inadequate. Right-wing forces emboldened by the government are moving full steam ahead to roll back the basic right of women to control their own bodies. These moves must be met by action that mobilizes the majority sentiment that continues to support a woman’s right to choose abortion.
HANDS OFF OUR BODIES! WE WON’T GO BACK!
Categories: Women's Rights