Speech from Bans Off Our Bodies march on October 2nd

Reproductive Justice is also Economic Justice, Speech Written by Ellen LaLuzerne

I’m here today in my role as vice president elect of the South-Central Federation of Labor.  But first, I wanted to share a little about myself. I have two excellent accidental children who were both conceived via birth control failure.  Luckily, I was at a point in my life where having kids was something I was ready, willing, and able to do.  I know that would not have been the case earlier in my life.  Having children was my choice.  We must make sure the Supreme Court and lawmakers hear us – don’t take the choice to have or to not have kids away. This attack on that right is simply intolerable.

I was at a point in my life where I was economically able to make that choice.  Economic rights and go hand-in-hand with reproductive justice. The idea of reproductive justice includes all the ways that make it possible to have or not have a child, including those economic issues that are important to us all.   No one should be forced into bearing children when they aren’t ready, willing, and able to.  Anyone who cannot choose their reproductive future diminishes their economic future if they, for example, cannot complete a degree or take a job because they have an unwanted pregnancy. 

Reproductive justice is even more crucial because of economic and social inequities.  We have little support for families in this country – lack of affordable health care, lack of time off the job to care for family, lack of affordable childcare, and the lack of living wages.   The wealthy always have access to reproductive choice.  Some of us don’t have access to affordable health care or child care, the ability to take the time to care for family, or a livable wage.  Without reproductive justice and economic freedom, we fail as a society in providing reproductive equity and justice for all.

We know the same right-wing agenda focused on attacking unions is the same agenda attacking reproductive choice. In my role as Vice President elect of the South-Central federation of Labor, I am voicing our area unions’ support for reproductive freedom and justice.  

We, in the labor movement, will continue to fight for economic rights and reproductive justice.  Our presence here, at this, event reflects our commitment to fight for equal access to abortion and reproductive choices.  We will continue to fight against unequal treatment in our health care system, for quality child care, and for ways for all to be able to make the choice to have or not to have children.  

And as unions know, there is strength in numbers.  And with all of us together, we’re going to send the Supreme Court and lawmakers across the country a clear, unified message that we will not tolerate this attack on our reproductive rights.

Socialist Feminists for Reproductive Rights Speech Given by Angie S

Roe v. Wade was won in spite of a conservative Supreme Court and a Republican President, with young women and workers organized in mass movements to put pressure on the establishment to legalized abortion. Originally filed in Texas, Roe v. Wade is being gradually stripped away by the establishment, and we see this as other states are attempting to pass their own heartbeat bills modeled after Texas’s. This movement in the 60s and 70s was happening alongside with other mass movements, Black liberation, Queer liberation, anti-war movement, environmental protection. The combined pressure on the system of all these mass struggles is what won us the civil rights act, voting rights act, the EPA, end of the Vietnam War, and abortion rights. But in this period we also saw the limitations of liberal feminism and its failure to include black, lesbian, and working class women, since it is inherently unable to foster the multi-gender working class solidarity needed to fight back against the racism, homophobia, and exploitation we know are all inherently connected under the oppressive capitalist system. Today’s generation of young women are not sold on “girlboss” glass-ceiling liberal feminism and its exclusion of women of color, trans women, and working class women. There is a deep hunger for fundamental change that puts a decisive end to the crises and exploitation we see all around us.

It is important to recognize how the struggle for abortion rights is connected with other struggles that working class women and young people face internationally. We can look to international examples like Argentina and Ireland that took up tactics of protests, student walkouts, strikes, and other militant actions to fight against the far right — including the deep seeded power of the Catholic Church. When working and young people in Ireland successfully overturned the constitutional ban on abortion in 2018 and won free, safe, and legal abortion, they were up against an extremely well funded No-campaign whose donor list included members of the religious right in the US. This is why our struggle must be international! 

Pushing back the abortion ban and going back to the way things were isn’t enough for working people. We seriously need universal, free childcare, Medicare for All that includes reproductive care and gender affirming care, and affordable housing. These demands are impossible to win unless we consistently organize our workplaces (including our unions!), schools, and communities in multi gendered solidarity. This barrage of attacks will continue until Roe v. Wade is either overturned wholesale, or made law once and for all

Biden and his administration defending Roe v. Wade through legalistic means isn’t enough to prevent the Supreme court from allowing laws like the Senate Bill 8 to pass in Texas. This will leave the decision in the hands of the right-wing Supreme Court. We need to return to the militant traditions that won Roe v. Wade in the first place. Under a conservative Supreme court and President Richard Nixon, the US was rocked with mass mobilizations, strikes, and radical grassroots organizations engaged in direct action, neither him nor his packed conservative court could do anything to oppose the movement’s demands. This is what we need now

We can’t rely on the Senate, Dems, and NGOS like Planned Parenthood who backed away from this fight. One Texas doctor, Dr. Alan Braid, put himself in the line of fire by providing a medically necessary abortion after the ban went into effect. This open defiance of the law is what we need. We need solidarity with providers and patients who defy the ban, and for working people to get organized in their workplaces, in the streets. We need to build a mass socialist feminist movement that will be needed in fighting back against this draconian law and demanding women and young workers have access not only to FREE, safe, legal abortion, but quality childcare, rent control and high quality publicly owned housing, Medicare for All, and a living wage. Under capitalism, every gain painstakingly won by our movement, such as Roe v. Wade, can be rolled back by the ruling class. Winning genuine liberation from gender oppression will require channeling the anger at this rotten system into a mighty struggle for a socialist future. This means getting organized — join a socialist feminist organization today like my organization, Socialist Alternative, who is fighting for that future. 

DSA Should Build a Movement to Defend Abortion Rights

We, the signatories to this letter, call on the national and chapter leaderships of DSA and YDSA to:

  • Immediately launch a campaign to defend the right to abortion in all 50 states, and to extend reproductive rights.
  • Put major resources, including financial resources, into building such a campaign.
  • Urgently build “Defend Roe” Working Groups in every chapter. These working groups could serve as organizing centers of the movement, and a national structure to coordinate their work should be initiated.
  • Organize a national day of action with powerful protests across the country in the run up to the Supreme Court hearing the Dobbs case on December 1.
  • Call on DSA members who are elected representatives, including members of congress like AOC, to actively build for this national day of action.
  • DSA members who are also union members should build this campaign in their unions.
  • Put forward a socialist program of reproductive rights including: Medicare-for-All with full reproductive services including abortion with no restrictions, fully-paid parental leave, free high quality childcare, massive building program to increase the supply of affordable housing, and more.

Go here to add your name to the petition

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