SDUSA’S National Executive Committee unanimously (6-0) passed the following resolution last evening:
SDUSA resoundingly, profoundly, and robustly condemns the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 Dobbs decision to overturn Roe V Wade that destroys women’s reproductive rights in our lifetime. By taking away the right to privacy for all childbearing-aged women in America and by removing away their right to control their own bodies, their futures and the futures of their families the court has made Americans who might become pregnant – and their partners if they have them – into second-class citizens. By arguing that ths right to privacy does not exist in the U.S. Constitution, the court is also setting up millions of Americans to lose the rights they have had to equality in marriage, sexuality and possibly even education. Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion leaves the argument open to overturn Griswald, Lawrence, Obergerfeld and even Brown v. Board of Education. Pro-life zealotry may be a motivating factor, but really we are being put on notice that it is time to say goodbye to all those Supreme Court decisions since the 1950s that have made us a fairer, freer and more equal society.
The question of when life begins – whether at conception or after “quickening” (i.e. after the baby starts to kick) or at the point of viability is one for theologians and lay people alike to debate for all time. And to be sure there are members of the Court who deeply believe that abortion of any kind is murder, but these “pro-life” zealots are not now, nor do they ever take into consideration the lives that these “saved” babies might have or the damage that their mothers might suffer by having to bear unwanted pregnancies. This ruling and the laws that enshrine this gutting of Roe have no exceptions for victims of rape, or rape-incest, or even if the life of the mother is at stake. And the immature and frankly silly notion that all problems associated with unwanted pregnancies and birth are solved by “safe harbor” laws and/or the ability to adopt out solves very little.
The foster care systems which exist in our different states are woefully inadequate, and do not begin to take care of the children of all races in their charge, and unfortunately people are not exactly tripping over themselves to adopt black and brown children anywhere in the country. Even when the system encourages adoption it takes a long time for qualified parents to be united with the children they want to adopt, and too often these children languish in one foster care home after another never going through proper stages of development which would allow them to thrive as they grow up.
By the same token the damage that women who are forced to carry unwanted babies to term is immeasurable – not only for the women but also for other children in the family and for the unwanted children themselves. The economic consequences of having unwanted children can play out over more that two generations, and the damage done to teenage girls who are victims or rape or rape-incest are immeasurable. But the people who have championed these laws are not concerned with the quality of life that these ‘saved” babies or their parents or their siblings might have, nor do they care about the cost to society.
The Right Wing of American politics started organizing around the anti-abortion position in 1978 when Paul Weyrich and Jerry Falwell realized the power that they could amass by doing so. Up until then abortion was seen as an issue for Catholics and one that could (and would) split the working class and drive conservative Catholics from the Democratic Party. In 1980 Reagan realized how he could attract Catholics and Evangelicals by taking an anti-abortion stand, even though he had not held that position while he was the governor of California. And the Bushes (Barbara and George H.W. and Prescott) had all been big supporters of Planned Parenthood.
The Right Wing of American politics started its assault on the rest of us in the late 1970’s and really went into high gear with the Reagan Administration and everyday thereafter. They want power and they want control over our lives. and they do not want women, or minorities, or non-heterosexuals to have power over our politics, our laws, our courts or our own lives or bodies. And now that they have control of the US Supreme Court (having stolen at least one seat) they are not done by making abortion illegal and guns of all kinds legal, they’re coming after reproductive rights/freedoms, and all the decisions which stem from the right to privacy. And not only are they advocating stiff penalties for women who might get abortions they are going after any health professional or anyone who might perform an abortion or council a woman about her choices. And furthermore they are deputizing individuals to become their armies of vigilantes to sue anyone who tries to get an abortion. Fortunately, we have states which will provide access to abortion and contraception and help people to choose what’s best for them, but the chaos that will come to pass is unimaginable, and if the Republicans in the House and Senate take over there will be a national federal ban, and then who knows what? Underground abortion railroads?
It is up to us Social Democrats to do what we can to work with unions and health-care providers to hold the line, to prevent the worst-case scenarios from coming to pass!