Abortion Rights Emergency:
Federal Court Ruling Leaves Only ONE Abortion Clinic in Louisiana; Crucial Supreme Court Hearing on March 2

February 29, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


On February 24, the Fifth Circuit Court, a federal court, ruled against granting a temporary block against a “TRAP” (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider) law. This went into effect immediately, closing three out of the four remaining abortion clinics in the entire state of Louisiana. The ENTIRE state of Louisiana now has only ONE abortion clinic, which in reality means that many, many women in Louisiana can’t get abortions: women who do not have the means to travel, the ability to take the time off of work for the mandatory waiting period the state requires of women, or the money to pay for the procedure.

Several weeks before this ruling, another abortion clinic had to close down, and the one clinic that remains open, in New Orleans, was already struggling to set up appointments with everyone from that clinic that needed an abortion. Women were already being put in a situation where they were being forced to have unwanted babies, or perhaps deciding to take their lives into their own hands by attempting to self-abort, which can be fatal. It needs to be stated, repeatedly, that without abortion rights, and without access to safe and legal abortion care, women have no more rights than a slave. Forced motherhood is female enslavement.

Washington, DC, January 22
Defending abortion rights at the Supreme Court, Washington, DC, January 22, 2016. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us

Ever since the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion in 1973, anti-woman, anti-abortion forces have been trying to deny women the right to abortion. Part of their strategy has been to END or severely restrict access to abortion on a state-by-state basis. And these TRAP laws are a big part of this. The anti-abortion forces behind these laws that are passing (at an alarming rate) argue that they are about the health and safety of women. But this is an outright murderous lie! For example, there are TRAP laws that require abortion clinics to be turned into Ambulatory Surgical Centers (basically emergency rooms) which require them to have hallways that are a certain width, that certain drugs be available, that special med-gas systems be installed, etc. But abortion is an extremely safe procedure, and there is NO medical need for these things. These types of requirements can cost abortion providers millions of dollars, and so clinics who cannot afford to make such unnecessary renovations have been forced to shut down.

Equally ludicrous are TRAP laws that say doctors working in abortion clinics must have admitting privileges at a local hospital in order to be able to see patients there. First of all, among the few heroic doctors who do provide abortions, many travel to several clinics and may not live in the same state as these clinics—which disqualifies them from obtaining admitting privileges at a hospital local to the abortion clinic. And admitting privileges for these doctors is completely unnecessary anyway since doctors at the local hospitals would be the ones caring for any patient brought in from the abortion clinics.

Supreme Court to Rule on Crucial Texas Abortion Case

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The outcome of these current legal assaults on women’s right to abortion will have huge repercussions on the entire South—as well as the whole United States. And this ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court comes one week before the most important Supreme Court abortion case in decades.

On March 2, the U.S .Supreme Court is set to hear the case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a case from Texas dealing with a law similar to the TRAP laws in Louisiana. In 2011, Texas had 41 abortion clinics, and about half of those clinics were forced to shut down in 2013 due to a TRAP law with four parts. It requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles; it has a 20-week abortion ban (some exceptions for life-threatening conditions, but NO exceptions in the case of rape); it requires all abortion facilities (even those that only use the abortion pill) be Ambulatory Surgical Centers; and it restricts how the abortion pill is given.

If this Texas law is allowed to stand, whether through an actual decision by the Supreme Court or through a 4-4 tie vote, this will give the green light to many more states in the South that have these types of laws pending, and it will pave the way for even more legislation in other states throughout the entire U.S. to broaden and continue this tsunami of abortion clinic closures. After the clinic closures in Texas, women from Texas who had the means (or were able to frantically gather the means) to travel went to other states—including Louisiana!—to get abortions. But if the Supreme Court on March 2 does not rule in a way that very clearly and sweepingly is in favor of the abortion clinics, these TRAP laws will go into effect, clinics will be forced to close down, and this will mean that there really won’t be much of anywhere in the South for women to go to if they need an abortion. Consider the number of states that would have abortion clinic closures: Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. These states are all bordering on each other; you could draw a single line through them on a map, and they represent a large part of the southern part of the U.S.!

Bloody pants, chains symbolize women who die or are enslaved when safe legal abortion is not available.

Bloody pants and chains symbolize women who die or are enslaved when safe legal abortion is not available. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us

Sunsara Taylor with image of Bob Avakian—total revolution against all oppression.
Sunsara Taylor with image of Bob Avakian—total revolution against all oppression. Photo: Revolution/revcom.us

Without the basic right of this safe medical procedure, women cannot determine for themselves when and whether they will become a parent, and they cannot determine the course of their own lives. Women’s role in society should NOT be determined solely by their biological ability to reproduce, women are NOT breeders or incubators; they are HUMAN BEINGS who are capable of participating in EVERY realm of society. Women’s lives and bodies are NOT the property of the state, and whether women are treated as state-mandated incubators should NEVER be up for a vote. A court of law should not be allowed to take away women’s basic humanity!

Ultimately a revolution and NOTHING LESS is needed to put an end to the oppression of women. As an important part of this, the RCP’s Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America guarantees that all women will have abortion rights, and birth control would be provided on demand and without apology! Scientific information about the abortion procedure, birth control, and sexual education will be made readily available. This kind of society would aim to unleash and enlist all kinds of people, including women—half of humanity—to play a full role in the total transformation of society, on the road to emancipating all of humanity.

All those who want to see women liberated and humanity emancipated need to recognize that this Supreme Court case is a crucial pivot point in whether the attacks on abortion and women will very rapidly accelerate. And this has huge implications for the lives of women, for their ability to play a full role in society, including being unleashed as a mighty force for revolution.

The right to abortion in the United States came about only after tremendous mass struggle. And it is going to take massive, uncompromising struggle to beat back the anti-abortion, anti-woman attacks that are increasingly consigning women to enforced motherhood—which is nothing less than female enslavement. Only through truly massive, independent political struggle do we stand a chance at defeating the truly unyielding and powerful anti-abortion forces. But they can be defeated. As Sunsara Taylor said, “Forced motherhood is deeply opposed to the interests of humanity. If we get out there and tell the truth, if we resist, if we clarify the stakes of this battle, and if we mobilize wave upon wave of the masses to get off the sidelines and into the streets with us, we can win. There is a tremendous reservoir of people who can and must be called forth to join in this struggle.”

Stop Patriarchy has put out an URGENT CALL for people to stand up for abortion rights and to be in Washington, DC on March 2. It will matter if people are in the streets at the Supreme Court and it will matter if others around the country organize different actions to speak out about this abortion rights emergency. We cannot rely on ruling class politicians to reverse the anti-abortion tide. We must be in the streets and wage massive, public, uncompromising political resistance to STOP THIS WAR ON WOMEN.



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