By DOLORES UNDERWOOD
The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1972 case that made abortions legal in the U.S. The June 24 decision is not the end of the fight, it is just the beginning. We are in this for the long haul, and we will not stop until we win reproductive justice for all!
Workers’ Voice calls on everyone to mobilize and participate in demonstrations throughout the country, beginning today. The only way we are going to win the right to legal, safe, and free abortions on demand is by building a mass movement that does not back down with small victories; we must continue this fight until our democratic right to bodily autonomy is protected under federal law!
As we go to press on June 24, protests are taking place in scores of cities and towns around the country. As soon as the announcement was made, thousands of people assembled in front of the Supreme Court Building in Washington, chanting, “We wont go back!” and “My body, my choice!” (See below for a partial list of places and times of June 24 protests).
Roe was won in the streets. But after the Supreme Court decision was announced in the 1970s, many involved in the fight demobilized. An independent, street-led movement was co-opted and defanged as the reproductive rights movement allowed one of the most undemocratic institutions in this country to have the last say on the right to an abortion. This was a mistake, and we need to recognize it as such, so that we can fight for lasting legislation on this issue. If not, we will continue to let down the vast majority of those with reproductive capacity.
For most birthing people in the country, access to an abortion has been waning for decades. In Mississippi, 99% of counties do not have a single abortion clinic. And not everyone was caught off guard by the leaked decision in May. The working class, overwhelmingly also from the most oppressed sectors of the population, have been organizing for years in preparation for the fall of Roe. As Roe has been hacked away at in their states and communities, Black, Indigenous, and Latina-led organizations have been providing critical access to resources. These groups have built organizations meeting the immediate needs of those in their periphery, and we must follow and support their efforts.
We must also learn from the victorious battles for reproductive justice that have recently taken place around the world. In Argentina, Colombia, Spain, Chile, and Ireland, among other countries that have waged successful struggles for abortion access, a democratically led movement that built mass mobilizations was critical. If we don’t build a mass movement, we will only be learning to live in a post-Roe world rather than fighting for lasting legislation.
The end of Roe will open the floodgate to the criminalization of birthing people, which already has precedence prior to Roe’s fall. Both sides of the aisle are committed to expanding and militarizing the carceral state. While Biden may have given lip service to calls to defund the police, over his presidency the federal prison population has grown for the first time in ten years and funneled even more money into policing. The end of Roe will be used as a weapon of criminalization, which we already know disproportionately affects the most oppressed groups.
The fight for safe, legal, and free abortions is one that connects the fight for health care, for the end of the carceral state, for racial justice, and for queer liberation and the struggles of the working class. If we can fight together, we will win reproductive justice for all. See you in the streets!
JUNE 24 PROTESTS (we will update the list throughout the day):
New York City: Assemble for march, Washington Square, 6:30 p.m.; Union Square, 8 p.m. Also— Union Square, 2 p.m., June 25.
Washington, D.C.: Union Station, 5 p.m.; also, in front of Supreme Court Building and elsewhere, all day.
Philadelphia: City Hall, 6:30 p.m.
San Francisco: Federal Courthouse, 450 Golden Gate, (alternatively, City Hall) 5 p.m.
San Jose: City Hall, 10 a.m., June 25.
Oakland: Oscar Grant (Frank Ogawa) Plaza, 5 p.m.
Chicago: Federal Plaza, 219 S. Dearborn, 5 p.m.
Seattle: Federal Building, 2nd and Madison, 5 p.m.
New Orleans: U.S. Court of Appeals, 600 Camp St., 6 p.m.
Atlanta: CNN, 190 Marietta St., 5 p.m.; east steps of the Capitol, 6:30 p.m.
New Haven, Conn.: Federal Courthouse, 141 Church St., 5 p.m.
Denver: State Capitol, 5:30.
Miami, Torch of Freedom, 6 p.m.
Los Angeles, Pershing Square, 5 p.m.; West Hollywood Park, 7 p.m., June 24. Also — Grand Park, 10 a.m., June 25.
Pittsburgh: City & County Bldg., 5 p.m.
Columbus, Ohio: State House, 6 p.m.
Photo: Protesters outside the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, June 24. (Mary F. Calvert / Reuters)