The New York Times Sounds the Alarm on the War on Women, Then Promptly Sends Everyone Back to Sleep
Why We Must Not Rely on the Courts, the Legislatures or the Ballot Box

by Sunsara Taylor | January 27, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


In its January 9 editorial, "Abortion Restrictions in Texas and Beyond," the New York Times detailed the acute emergency surrounding women's right to abortion. After highlighting the extreme new laws which have already shut down abortion services at eight clinics in Texas and which threaten to close as many as 18 more in the next few months, the editorial points out that all this is part of a "surge of anti-abortion measures... In 2013 alone, 22 states adopted 70 different restrictions... including pre-viability abortion bans that defy Supreme Court precedent, unwarranted doctor and clinic regulations, limits on medication abortion by forbidding use of the most up-to-date drug protocol, and bans on insurance coverage."*

Over 200 pro-choice people faced off in the heart of San Francisco to loudly and publicly oppose the 10th annual Walk for "Life" West Coast, an anti-abortion march of tens of thousands that seek to end all abortion nationwide. Stop Patriarchy hit the scene with a crowd of college students, activists from SF NOW, Occupy SF, World Can't Wait, and others, in a righteous resistance to this Walk for Forced Motherhood, the recent escalated attacks on abortion, and the whole war on women. A Christian fascist youth group called "Pro-Life Generation" were met by Stop Patriarchy and others chanting, "Every generation has an obligation to women's liberation!" Waves of passersby, disgusted with the archaic anti-abortion action, ran to join in raising the slogans, "Abortion on demand & without apology!"

However, no sooner did the Times sound the alarm than it promptly hit the "snooze" button and sent everyone back to sleep. They concluded: "To stand a chance of rolling back these restrictions, supporters of abortion rights will need to fight harder... in the courts, in legislatures and at the ballot box."

It is difficult to think of worse—and more deadly—advice.

The fact that the "pro-choice movement" has for decades restricted itself to acting "in the courts, in legislatures and at the ballot box" is one of the biggest reasons why women's right to abortion has lost so much ground!

The ONLY way to defeat the escalating war on women is by relying on ourselves. What is urgently needed is massive, uncompromising, society-wide, self-sacrificing resistance.

This war is NOT a political gimmick of the "right wing" to get votes by giving lip service to issues dear to fundamentalist Christians. This war is a deadly serious move by an extremely powerful and entrenched section of the U.S. ruling class to forcibly impose traditional and theocratic forms of patriarchy on women throughout society. The fascist program includes the absolute criminalization of abortion in any and all circumstances—and steadfast opposition to birth control, real sex education, the science of evolution, and LGBT equality. This program includes the forceful reassertion of the traditional family where the man has ultimate authority and the woman submits to him.

Anyone who doubts this, needs to peel the blinders from their eyes and look at what is happening across this country. Between 2011 and 2013, more restrictions were passed against abortion than in the previous 10 years. Five states in the country have only one abortion clinic left—and in places like Mississippi and North Dakota those clinics are only still in operation because of temporary court rulings.

Already, women's lives are being ruined and risked in the name of this "culture of life." As we in discovered first-hand on last summer's Abortion Rights Freedom Ride, in rural and poor areas women are attempting dangerous measures to self-induce abortions: inserting sharp objects inside their vaginas, taking lots of pills, drinking to excess, throwing themselves down the stairs or getting in fist fights in attempts to terminate their pregnancies. Already, huge swaths of young, rural and poor women are finding abortion to be too difficult to access or too stigmatized to access and are foreclosing their lives and having children they did not want and aren't able to care for.

Voting for Democrats or "pro-choice" candidates, lobbying the legislatures and relying on the courts have done NOTHING to stop this direction. For decades, the Democrats have consistently refused to call out this Christian fascist assault for what it is: a program for the enslavement of women. Instead, they cede the moral high ground to these fascists when they say, as Bill Clinton did, that abortion should be "rare," or that, as Hillary Clinton did, it is a "tragic choice." Democratic leaders like Barack Obama have insisted that they "respect" these religious fanatics and that what they seek is "common ground." This has only served to demobilize people at a time when what is needed most is to fight.

As for the courts, since the Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion, the courts have increasingly widened the scope of restrictions on women's access to abortion. In a very real way, the current spate of restrictions on abortion must be understood as the flood surging through the legal cracks opened up and widened by the Supreme Court itself.

This war on women is deeply rooted in the fundamental nature of the United States and the challenges it is currently facing. How this is so is gone into very deeply in the special issue of Revolution newspaper, A Declaration: for the Liberation of Women and the Emancipation of Humanity, which is essential reading for anyone serious about ending the oppression of women here or anywhere on this planet.

To fully uproot the oppression and enslavement of women will take a total revolution—a communist revolution that also puts an end to this country's mass incarceration of mainly Black and brown people, its unjust wars for empire, its global networks of sweatshops and other extreme capitalist exploitation, its destruction of the environment and its towering inequality of wealth. A concrete and sweeping vision of what this revolution will accomplish is laid out in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal), published by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and based on the new synthesis of communism developed by Bob Avakian.

It is urgent that people who hate oppression, people who do not want to see women enslaved, lift their sights to this real possibility of a whole better world and join in the fight to bring it into being.

It is also urgent, it is necessary, and it is possible to defeat this war on women. The basis for this exists in the fact that this war is at odds with the fundamental interests of humanity. Many millions do not want to see women slammed backwards to the days of forced motherhood. And many more can be won to this position if they are uncompromisingly struggled with. But in order for this to matter, people must be mobilized to stand up and fight outside the killing confines of the courts, the legislatures and the ballot box and in opposition to the moral and political parameters set by them.

People must step out into the streets in massive resistance. People must raise their voices uncompromisingly for abortion on demand and without apology. People must put their bodies and their reputations and their social influence on the line.

Mass resistance is a big part of the way that people begin to see the many others who share their desire to see women liberated, combined with agitation, propaganda, and the all-around work of revolutionaries. It is through this whole process that people begin to feel their collective power and strength. It is through mass resistance that people can change how other whole sections of society are thinking and acting. It is through mass resistance that people become more open to the deeper questions of where all this oppression is coming from and what it will take to end it. It is through mass resistance that the total illegitimacy of this whole anti-woman program, how it flies in the face of the will of the people, can be exposed. It is through mass resistance that the rulers can be forced to either back off or risk losing even more "legitimacy" in the eyes of millions more.

It is urgent that people STOP relying on "fighting" "in the courts, in the legislatures and at the ballot box." Instead, we must rely on ourselves and make clear in word and deed that we will not stop until this whole direction is defeated.

Join today in the fight to end to the war on women. Learn about and become active in the fight to End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women by visiting and getting on their email list through their website Look for announcements about mass protest against this war on women on International Women's Day, March 8, 2014 at and


* "Pre-viability" refers to the first 24 weeks, before which a fetus cannot survive outside of the womb. [back]

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