Protests continue countrywide against reactionary state abortion bans that have been implemented or will be realized any day in half the states. Right-wingers in state governments eagerly awaited the Supreme Court’s overturn of the right to access abortions. The top court obliged them June 24 by overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, thus eliminating the federal right to obtain abortions.
These bans are repressive, racist, misogynistic and classist. They deny pregnant people essential health care, fundamental rights and bodily autonomy. In many states, violators of the laws — abortion providers, patients and their helpers — would be punished with fines and even imprisonment. These harsh measures emanate from a hard-core reactionary grouping, in the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government, which represents a segment of the capitalist class. Their ultimate goal: a countrywide abortion ban.
But there is resistance.
Thousands fill Indiana Statehouse
For several hours July 25, protesters, including many Black women, loudly objected to an abortion ban being pushed by the state Senate’s Republicans. Hundreds of angry people lined up outside its Chambers in Indianapolis. They packed the North Atrium and the balconies of two floors and chanted. Others lined up around the outside of the building and yelled at the lawmakers.
Despite opposition by doctors, major medical associations and the thousands of women and others who can become pregnant who were protesting at the Statehouse throughout the week beginning July 25 — and despite support for abortion rights by two-thirds of Indiana residents — state senators passed Senate Bill 1 by a vote of 26-20 on July 30. Now it goes to the House.
After a week of debate, the Senate bill’s final version bans all abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when the pregnant person’s life is at risk. However, exceptions for rape and incest only apply within the first 12 weeks for people age 15 or younger and the first eight weeks for people 16 or older. And the abortion seeker would have to sign a notarized statement, verifying when the assault happened. This ridiculous bill prohibits abortions from the time a fertilized egg implants in a uterus!
‘Restore abortion rights!’ in Louisiana
In other news, the Louisiana Abortion Rights Action Committee organized a spirited march July 31 in New Orleans, which demanded the state “Restore abortion rights!” The group called for a fight-back against the state’s abortion ban. This action was a response to the judiciary’s overturn of an injunction that had temporarily blocked implementation of the ban.
State Attorney General Jeff Landry, a right-wing millionaire, had pushed hard for the ban. A judge agreed and allowed immediate implementation of this ban, which outlaws nearly all abortions. It even denies the right to access abortions by impregnated rape or incest victims/survivors. There are minimal exemptions for seriously ill pregnant people. Already, clinics that provided abortions have closed.
A multinational, multigender grouping of over 200 people, the majority young, participated in the march and rally. In the French Quarter, workers came out of restaurants and bars to cheer and applaud the demonstrators. Even some tourists joined in. A goal of the action was to involve more workers in this struggle; this issue will impact members of their class, especially low-income earners and members of oppressed communities.
This committee’s class-conscious agenda includes other critical issues in addition to the restoration of abortion rights and reopening of clinics. It calls for funding free child care, health care and education, higher wages, lower rents and workers’ rights. The group condemns racism, gender oppression, militarism and war. And it concludes by calling for a fight-back against the millionaires who are funding these reactionary bans, with contempt for those whose lives are affected.