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A Guide to Protecting the Right to Abortion in the US Despite the Supreme Court Draft

How are the most valuable rights destroyed? The best strategy is to do it little by little and without sudden movements. Death by a thousand and one cuts. This is how Republicans attacked the right to vote until recently, when the rest of us reacted and began to pay attention to the impact that voter ID laws, poll closures, restrictions on mail-in voting, and a bunch of other measures have had.

Reproductive rights have been under siege for over 30 years. On the one hand, because of right-wing anti-abortion terrorist activities throughout the 1990s (and most recently, in 2015 in Colorado Springs). But there was also a kind of attrition tactic, with measures that made it harder to access abortions, such as closing clinics and cutting the maximum number of weeks of pregnancy.

The reversal of Rowe’s precedent against Wade casts doubt on all these tactics of stealth and gradualism. Judging by the reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s draft that would have overturned it after its official release, we might be seeing an overreaction causing backlash. After all, the vast majority of Americans support freedom of choice.

There are many types of possible measures to respond to this likely revocation of the fundamental right to our privacy and to self-determination with regard to our bodies (and it is highly ironic that a court that wants to determine the policy governing the bowels of people from all over the country feel desecrated now, when a draft leak exposed her inner workings).

Immediate assistance to the poor and disenfranchised, who will suffer the most, is already underway. By unfreedom, I mean people who are dominated by a partner, family, church, or hostile environment. People are arranging trips to abortion clinics for people who are far away from them, as well as facilitating access to abortion pills and other forms of support.

But when I talk about backlash, I imagine and wish for a backlash similar to that caused by Trump’s election in 2016 and the outrage that followed. I am thinking of restoring a democratic majority in the 2018 House of Representatives elections and bringing members of the so-called Brigade (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressly…) among other progressive politicians to this lower house. If there were Democratic majorities in both houses, abortion could become a legally guaranteed right. It is worth remembering that among the countries that have done this in recent years are Mexico, Ireland and Argentina.

Unite against isolated right

What is striking this time around in the US is that both the conservative agenda and the backlash it provokes can form powerful coalitions. In the 1990s, human rights activities were divided. While advocates for LGBT rights, reproductive rights, and racial justice may be the same voters and politicians, each issue has had its own campaign and common denominators have rarely been discussed.

“They first came for reproductive rights (obtained in Roe v. Wade, 1973) and it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a womb,” I wrote a few days ago when the Supreme Court draft was released. “Then they will come for the right to homosexual marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015); for the right of same-sex adults to have consensual sexual relations (Lawrence v. Texas, 2003); and for the right to use contraception (Griswold v. Connecticut, 1965). The truth is, it doesn’t matter if they come for you, because they will come for all of us.”

Almost everyone falls under this “we” these days, except for heterosexual right-wing Christian white men. They are building up a huge mass of opponents, and we must make this fatal mistake of theirs.

Everything is interconnected. Right-wing politicians would not have ruled Texas if the state had not suppressed the right to vote so effectively. The state of Texas, currently leading the charge in attacks on abortion and transgender rights, could see Democrat Beto O’Rourke as governor in November if non-Republican voter turnout overcomes voting restrictions. As O’Rourke himself tweeted, “If they want the states to make decisions, we need to appoint a governor who will protect a woman’s right to have an abortion.”

As American society as a whole becomes more progressive and less white, the right is a dwindling minority. They know this and have made a desperate bet: to manage the power of the few and for the benefit of the few. That is why the abolition of the right to vote is central to his agenda.

While they cannot win in the long run, the damage they could do to many lives and the planet’s climate balance in the meantime is enormous. The leak of the Supreme Court draft should strengthen our resolve to resist. Let’s remember our strength and strengthen our alliances by winning elections and keeping our eyes on the trophy.

Translated by Francisco de Zarate



Source: www.eldiario.es

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