In Response to the Impending Repeal of Roe v. Wade

In Response to the Impending Repeal of Roe v. Wade

DATE: May 3, 2022

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Yesterday evening, a leaked initial draft of a majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito revealed that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision enshrining the constitutional right to an abortion. In response, the Metro D.C. chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America immediately mobilized a rally in front of the Supreme Court at midnight.

Hundreds of people flooded the sidewalk in front of the court chanting “We won’t go back!” Among the protesters was Ward 4 councilmember and chapter member Janeese Lewis George, who excoriated elected officials failing to codify Roe or fighting to end the filibuster and spoke about the importance of fueling anger and despair into organizing:

We live in a society that doesn’t want to give us universal health care, a $15 minimum wage, or paid family leave…but they want to make choices about our bodies. This is not a system that is supporting us, and that means we gotta dismantle it all. … This is a labor rights issue, a human rights issue, a civil rights issue. If we don’t fight now, they will come for every single one of us, so we need to be in this fight together. We need to be in solidarity together. And we need to be ready to organize and win.

Overturning Roe and the 1992 court decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey would allow states to ban abortion and impose other extreme, far-reaching restrictions, including denying exceptions for rape and incest, criminalizing abortion care providers, and empowering so-called vigilante lawsuits and bounty collection by civilians. In 2022 alone, abortion bans have been introduced in 31 states and enacted in six—the culmination of a decades-long conservative effort to capture the courts and impose the will of a fringe religious minority over millions of people.

It is a cruel irony that news of the Supreme Court consigning countless people to death broke on the same night the Met Gala paid homage to a period of garish luxury and the height of wealth inequality in the United States. As democratic socialists, we understand that efforts to ban abortion are violent class warfare, and the communities that will bear the brunt of suffering and criminalization are disproportionately poor, disabled, and people of color. And it is no coincidence that this full-scale assault on reproductive rights and bodily autonomy has moved in tandem with growing violence against the LGBTQ community and a wave of anti-trans legislation across the country.

Democrats currently control the House, Senate, and the presidency, and the vast majority of Americans support the right to an abortion, but our undemocratic and unaccountable national political institutions fail to reflect the will of the people. We cannot secure liberation through the ballot box alone; we must organize everywhere and build a powerful, mobilized mass movement of the working class.

We affirm that reproductive autonomy—our ability to make decisions about our own bodies and futures—is at the heart of what it means to live with freedom and dignity. Our chapter unequivocally condemns any and all efforts by state legislatures and the courts that threaten our health and fundamental human rights. Free abortion on demand and without apology.