As Texas bans abortion and unleashes vigilantes to enforce this, and abortion rights hang by a thread nationwide, people need to be screaming at the top of their lungs sounding the alarm about the severity of the situation! But instead, some “woke” people are muffling the alarm. Here is what the Women’s March tweeted a few weeks ago:
What's happening in Texas is devastating, but it's not slavery. Slavery comparisons don't help us understand what Texans are facing & it obscures the real legacy of slavery that Black people still live with today. We can and will fight for Texas, but only if we do it together.
Frankly, this argument is BULLSHIT!
What do you call it when a person has no control over her own body and reproduction? When an 18 year old, pregnant from a male she barely knows, is FORCED to be a mother against her will, with her dreams and aspirations snatched away? When a mother of five, living in a one-bedroom apartment with two jobs, straining to provide three meals for the family, unable to care for one more child, is FORCED by the state to have an unwanted pregnancy? When an 11-year-old, raped by her cousin or uncle or father, is FORCED to carry that pregnancy? When even the CHOICE of whether, or when, to be a mother is stripped away. Is this not a form of enslavement?
What do you call it when this is the fate of millions of females across the country if abortion is completely abolished, their bodies and lives controlled by a patriarchal male supremacist system?
This IS a form of slavery, in the most intimate way!
No, of course it is not identical to chattel slavery. Women are not being forced to pick cotton from sundown to sunup, generation and after generation, whipped when they don’t do enough. They are not having their children sold. These were horrors which everyone needs to deeply understand.
But let’s not forget that one of the main forms that U.S. slavery took, especially after the Atlantic slave trade was mostly ended in 1808, was the systematic rape and "breeding" of slaves! And if you want to talk about literal slavery in the world today, one of the main forms of that is the enslavement of millions of women and girls in sexual slavery. Does acknowledging this fact diminish what has happened to Black people in the U.S? Of course not.
What is the point of making this comparison? First and foremost, there are real parallels, and recognizing that gives you a sense of the gravity of it, and the direction of it. Second, most people today correctly believe that slavery and the Fugitive Slave Act are morally intolerable, but many of those same people are accepting what is being done to women. The oppression of women is way too normalized in this society! We need to make forced motherhood jump out at people for the intolerable outrage that it is, so that people act to stop it.
The tweet from the Women’s March is akin to those who say that making analogies to Nazi Germany and drawing lessons from the Holocaust is “anti-Semitic.” This treats oppression as “private property,” and it is completely anti-historical. Of course every atrocity has particularities. The Jewish Holocaust is unique in many ways, including the "industrial" way this was carried out. But the Nazis actually drew inspiration from the racist pseudo-science, Native genocide, and Jim Crow laws of the U.S. (as well as a long history of anti-Semitism in Europe). And in terms of sheer numbers, the Belgians killed even more people in the Congo, under the rule of King Leopold. Does acknowledging this negate or diminish the horrors that Jewish people have suffered? Of course not! it’s not a competition.
Again, at a time when the future of half of humanity that is female is in the balance, stop playing "oppression Olympics" and squabbling about who “owns” oppression and who has a “right to speak.” Right now EVERYONE needs to be raising their voices and taking to the streets against the ferocious fascist assault on abortion rights aiming to slam women back to being property of men and breeders of children. And they need to broaden their sights and get a scientific understanding about how all this oppression comes from a common source: the system of capitalism-imperialism. A system that treats Black people as less than human, that criminalizes immigrants, that is destroying the planet, and that wages wars for empire with the U.S. on top of the food chain. A system that cannot be reformed, but must be overthrown.
Instead of policing people to “stay in their lanes,” taming people’s fury and outrage, how about we get organized and lead millions to turn that fury into a mighty force for a real revolution!
As noted in this article, historical parallels can help you understand what’s going on in the present. The Texas abortion ban empowers any citizen—any Republican fascist, any misogynist asshole, any asshole ex-boyfriend, or anyone who just wants to make money—to hunt down and sue anyone who “aids and abets” a woman obtaining an abortion. Sound familiar? The Fugitive Slave Act empowered any white person to hunt down and capture anyone they alleged to be runaway slaves, and collect a reward for it. Go here to read an insightful article by Tony Norman exploring this parallel.