In a just world, who would ever think that a known rapist would have the power to compel pregnant rape survivors, including minors, to carry their forced pregnancy to term?
But that’s exactly what happens in “the good old USA.” Supreme Court of the U.S. “Justice” Brett Kavanaugh was part of the court majority who voted to let stand the Texas anti-reproductive justice law, which makes abortion illegal after around six weeks of pregnancy, regardless of circumstances. The law allows a private individual in any state to sue anyone who seeks an abortion or helps pregnant people obtain abortions — and to collect a $10,000 bounty if they win in court.
In the recent ruling, abortion providers are allowed to continue a narrow portion of their lawsuit against S.B. 8 in federal court but cannot sue state judges and clerks or the Texas attorney general.
In practice, the ruling gives other states, including Florida and Ohio, the go-ahead to pass copycat legislation. The high court had previously allowed S.B. 8 to go into effect while cases against it were being heard.
The draconian Texas law has had, and will continue to have, the greatest impact on poor people and people of color — those who lack the funds and transportation to get abortions in other states.
SCOTUS will rule on a Mississippi anti-abortion law next year.
The court’s ruling has wide implications. By making Roe v. Wade essentially unenforceable, it puts a whole range of pro-civil rights rulings in jeopardy. As dissenting Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, “By foreclosing suit against state-court officials and the state attorney general, the Court effectively invites other states to refine S.B. 8’s model for nullifying federal rights.”
What should happen now?
Sotomayor goes on to say, “The Court thus betrays not only the citizens of Texas but also our constitutional system of government.”
In fact, it is that very system that gives blatant misogynists constitutional power to lay their filthy hands on the rights and bodies of women, child victims of incest, and gender-oppressed people. As the late chairperson of Workers World Party, Sam Marcy, wrote in 1989, “It is this Constitution, this structure of government and of the state, that explains how these and other decisions have been made and carried out that are so contrary to the opinion of the majority of the people.”
Marcy was writing on a SCOTUS ruling then against reproductive justice. He went on to explain that “the process of the concentration of power in undemocratic bodies. It comes from the concentration of the means of production in the hands of a ruling class which holds the power and distributes it in areas most conducive to them. So it’s not an accident that power should ultimately be exercised by the Supreme Court that’s most reliable to them, most conservative, responsive only to those who have appointed them.”
To win, the fight for reproductive justice has to target the ruling class, which holds the real reins of power even while acting under the cover of “democracy.” Patriarchal values serve the capitalist class, for whom childbearing is just another service, providing the next generation of exploitable workers.
To strip working-class and oppressed people of the power to decide when and if to bear children constitutes an abominable assault on basic human rights. Already young activists have been arrested demonstrating outside SCOTUS. Resistance is already taking many forms, including defying the state by forming networks to help pregnant people get the reproductive health care they need.
This struggle deserves the unequivocal support of the whole working-class movement.
The denial of reproductive justice to millions of people, particularly youth, could be a tipping point in the overall class struggle. Justice can’t wait for a few members of the high court to die or retire, so some Democratic Party politician can hopefully appoint someone else less antagonistic to women and gender-oppressed people.
Bold, militant, creative, anti-capitalist tactics are what’s called for. As the slogan goes: “If we don’t get it, shut it down!”
What if organized labor called a one-day general strike to reverse all the anti-choice legislation and court rulings? On May Day in 2006, migrant workers held the biggest general strike in U.S. labor history.
If there can be a “Day Without Migrants,” what about a day when all women and potentially pregnant people stayed home?
The fight is now!