Revolutionary Worker #897, March 9, 1997
The anti-abortion forces have spread much confusing propaganda. As a result, many young women think that having an abortion is "killing a baby." Men pressure their girlfriends and wives not to have abortions because they think it is "killing their baby." Women are beaten and threatened by male partners for choosing abortion. Even many people who uphold a woman's right to choose are not clear about the issue of "taking a life." And this unclarity has led to a defensiveness in the face of the anti-choice onslaught.
Today many pro-choice people begin discussions about abortion with words like "sad" and "unfortunate" and "wrenching." But in reality abortion is a necessary method of birth control which must be available to women. Without this means of controlling their reproduction and terminating unwanted pregnancies, women will be no more than slaves. The heart of the matter of abortion rights is a question of whether or not women can play a full and equal role in society.
The ruling powers have always spread incorrect and reactionary ideas to justify the subordination of women. These efforts have become especially intense during the current campaign to deny women control over their own reproduction.
Religious myths about life are spread. For example, some religious forces preach that nonexistent spirits (called souls) enter embryos during fertilization and that therefore every embryo should be considered as important as the women who carry them. So-called "scientific experts" are quoted saying that "human life begins at conception"--and this is used as an argument for making abortion illegal. These arguments are designed to create confusion over pregnancy and abortion--to hold back the liberation of women. People are kept ignorant about sex, life, the reproduction process, and how our bodies function. And many people do not even know what actually happens during a pregnancy or during an abortion.
It is extremely important for the basic people to be part of the struggle over these scientific questions--to struggle for scientific truth and to join the battle for women's rights which is a life-and-death question for the people.
The articles on this page are useful tools to organize discussions about a woman's right to abortion. They are based on material from past issues of the Revolutionary Worker. Copies of the current issue of the RW and back issues are available at Revolution Books stores and outlets and from RCP Publications, P.O. Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL, 60654