Women’s right to control their own reproductive life is under attack again

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
4 May 2022

The US Supreme Court's decision on the abortion case Dobbs vs Jackson Women's Health, was leaked this week, revealing that the court intends to remove the legal right to abortion in the US.

    The case concerns a law being considered in Mississippi, which threatens to overturn the “fetal viability standard” established under Roe vs. Wade, a 1973 ruling which declared abortion legal up to the point at which survival is possible outside the womb.

    Despite Roe vs Wade, restrictions on abortion access have been piling up for working class and poor women ever since.  It's got to the point where today, in 90% of state counties, there are no clinics which offer abortions.

    However, this new ruling would go after the federal principle of the right to abortion, and if Roe vs Wade is overturned, 22 states could immediately pass laws banning all abortions. Alabama already has, within the last 48 hours!

    According to a poll conducted last month, 54% of Americans believe Roe vs Wade should be upheld, while just 28% think it should be overturned.  A majority also opposes restricting abortions to the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, the main provision of the Mississippi law at the heart of the Supreme Court case.

    But the decision will be taken by 9 appointed judges in a line-up prepared by Trump, to capture the vote of the religious right at the time. In fact these hand-picked judges deliberately chose to hear this case, even though it was declared unconstitutional by every other court that examined it.  In other words, they‘re deliberately targeting the right to abortion.

    In Britain, the same reactionary trend exists, even if its “advocates” haven't yet managed to curtail women's (already limited) rights any further.  Two of these are in Johnson's Cabinet: the MP for the 18th century, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Nadine Dorries, who tried twice in the past to amend the law and cut abortion time limits.

    Across the world, women's right to abortion is under attack.  In many countries it no longer exists.  Not only does the working class need to stand up against this encroachment on women's control over their own bodies, but it needs to fight for abortion rights to be extended, so that abortion is provided free and on demand, everywhere.