On Roe V Wade, We Refuse to Go Backwards

Jul 1, 2022

The Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe V Wade, which guaranteed protection to individuals seeking abortions in the United States, marks a dangerous trajectory for the political life and democratic future of this country. The National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression stands in full solidarity with the people's mobilizations against this decision.

Across the country, NAARPR branches and affiliates are pressuring district attorneys to refuse to prosecute in states where abortions are illegal, organizing to remove governors who promote these attacks on women’s right to choose, and demanding that Roe v. Wade be codified into law as every opportunity to do so since the 1973 case has been squandered.

The glaring racial disparities in the U.S. healthcare system mean that maternal risks for Black women are even more dire. Pregnancy and reproductive health outcomes for Black and Brown women will be disproportionately affected by this decision. Lack of access to abortion and other reproductive health resources already plagues our communities in the Black Belt South, and now that vastly unequal access will be even more stark. Even abortions which could save the lives of pregnant mothers are under attack in some states.

The history of anti-abortion sentiment in the U.S. is steeped in racism. Starting in the mid-1800s, the American Medical Association (AMA) was founded as an organization for white men, and the budding fields of obstetrics and gynecology were being violently formed through horrific experimentation and torture of Black women. The all white, all male obstetricians and gynecologists sought to monopolize reproductive care for their own financial gain, and banning midwifery and abortion allowed them to do exactly that, preventing women– and specifically Black women– from their role in pregnancy care.

At the same time, up through the 1900s marked increasing fears among white protestants that they could soon be a minority, and so banning abortion became their hope to prevent declining birth rates. It’s no wonder that today’s white nationalists have opposed abortion with similar cries about losing the demographic majority. This country's history of imperialism and genocide is littered with violations of Black and Brown women and their reproductive lives and futures. This decision is a continuation of that painful legacy. The fight for Black Liberation includes the fight for bodily autonomy for Black women.

Ignoring the abysmal outcomes for both women and children where abortion is inaccessible, the hypocrisy behind claims that unborn fetuses are human beings with human rights are clear. Those who claim this, do not also claim that these supposed children deserve citizenship (protecting pregnant women from deportation), due process (protecting pregnant women from incarceration), and child support from the moment of conception. Even if all of those were granted, this country would never allow someone’s personal freedoms to be infringed upon, or require someone to provide blood and organ donation, merely because someone else’s life could be saved by the act. Outlawing abortion does exactly this for pregnant women.

The women's rights and reproductive justice movements have worked for decades to protect the right to bodily autonomy, and this fight is far from over. This decision comes as the latest blow in a wave of attacks on constitutional protections and democratic rights, specifically targeting women and those who can become pregnant. We know to expect a surge in regressive decisions and policies which will endanger women, LGBT people, black people, and poor & working people. The great forces of oppression and exploitation are well-equipped to wait out public outrage, so it is more important than ever to join grassroots defense organizations to create a sustained movement to defeat them.

The incredible response to this decision has shown that in the face of state power working to  strip away the rights of marginalized people, we refuse to go backwards. The mass mobilizations across the country which continued– despite displays of police repression in many cities– are evidence of that fact.

We will stand up and fight back.