Yes, Someone Did See This Coming: Bob Avakian

30 Years of Calling Out the Fascist Attacks on Abortion Rights

Over the years, women angry about attacks on abortion rights have been told, “don’t worry, you’re just getting ‘hysterical.’” The day before Anthony Kennedy announced his resignation from the Supreme Court last summer, CNN host Brian Stelter tweeted, in response to a liberal activist, “We are not ‘a few steps from The Handmaids’ Tale.’ I don’t think this kind of fear-mongering helps anybody.”1 The constant attacks on abortion have been called a “stealth war,” as if it is hidden.2 Or “quiet,” as if no one knows about it.3 And each new step to chip away at or completely reverse Roe v. Wade and take away women’s right to abortion is seen as a “surprise.”4 Like it came out of nowhere. An editorial editor at the Los Angeles Times recently wrote in an op-ed, “Never have I imagined that Roe would be in danger of being overturned or irrevocably diminished.”5

And just this Saturday, in the New York Times, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood in the 2000s, wrote that she “believed that providing vital health care, with public opinion on our side, would be enough to overcome the political onslaught [to outlaw abortion]. I underestimated the callousness of the Republican Party…”

But it’s not like nobody could see this coming. In fact, as the selected quotes that follow show, Bob Avakian (BA) has been warning of this for three decades and more. The quotes below give a hint of a much deeper analysis that has outlined how these attacks on abortion formed a critical edge of an overall Christian-fascist offensive to radically remake the way in which this society is ruled and organized. Not only that, he’s initiated and given leadership to efforts to actually resist these attempts. And the quotes that follow are not just “for the record”—if anything, they are even more relevant today. For one thing, the very same types of people and forces that have been telling people not to worry for three decades are now telling them there’s nothing they can do. BA, to the contrary, has provided a foundation on the basis of which to understand WHY such extreme attacks are going down and a road map HOW these can be taken on and defeated... and done so as part of making revolution.

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The whole question of the position and role of women in society is more and more acutely posing itself in today’s extreme circumstances—this is a powderkeg in the U.S. today. It is not conceivable that all this will find any resolution other than in the most radical terms and through extremely violent means. The question yet to be determined is: will it be a radical reactionary or a radical revolutionary resolution, will it mean the reinforcing of the chains of enslavement or the shattering of the most decisive links in those chains and the opening up of the possibility of realizing the complete elimination of all forms of such enslavement.”6 (1985)

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“One of the things that should be posed is this question: How many of these people who oppose the right to abortion also don't oppose birth control? Very few. So there you get right to the essence of the matter. It's not a matter of ‘killing babies’—they want women to play a certain social role, it's very important to them. The family, as a patriarchal institution, is very important to them, it's very important to the whole bourgeois structure, especially when there are a lot of strains and contradictory trends pulling at society and a lot of changes that are undermining a lot of the traditional, oppressive relations and values.”7 (2002)

Unbelievable as it may seem quote from Bob Avakian

 

“[A]round the crucial and pivotal issue of abortion, many liberals—and in this they are ‘led’ by the likes of the Clintons—promote the idea of seeking ‘common ground’ with the Christian Fascists, with arguments like: ‘We can all agree that it is desirable to limit the number of abortions and make abortion rare, so let us unite together to make sure that birth control is widely and easily available.’ Yet experience has already shown that the Christian Fascists are determined to eliminate not only abortion but birth control as well, and that such pleas for ‘common ground’ only make them more fanatical in seeking to do away with both....

“And, as their determination to eliminate birth control, along with abortion, makes clear, what lies at the heart of the issue of abortion, and of the Christian Fascists’ unrelenting attempt to make it illegal, is not the killing of babies (which is scientifically wrong in the first place) but is the chaining of women in oppressive relations in which their essential role is reduced to that of being the property of men and the breeders of their children, according to ‘god’s plan’ and the dictates of theocratic interpreters of ‘god’s will.’”8 (2008)

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“The forces striving for ‘a post-abortion America’ have, through a combination of tactics—including unrelenting harassment of abortion clinics and providers, and arson, bombings and other attacks, as well as outright murder—made tremendous gains in effectively denying abortion to large numbers of women and in undercutting the training of new generations of potential providers. Beyond that, they have gone a long way in gaining the political and moral initiative and in setting the terms of the debate and struggle. And, it must be frankly admitted, they have succeeded in confusing and disorienting significant numbers of people, including many young women. (They have even made some headway in deflecting identification with the Nazis from themselves and onto abortion providers, through the perverted claim that abortions amount to a ‘holocaust.’)”9 (2004)

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“It has been pointed out that, with the changing nature of the economy, along with large numbers of women working in lower tier, lower paid jobs, you have a lot more women professionals, a lot more women in the middle class generally who are themselves working, many more women college graduates, and so on. Things like this are vastly different than a few decades ago… But, on the other side, this is clashing up against the traditional relations, and in this country, too, it is calling forth, or is a major factor in calling forth, all this fundamentalist madness, in this case Christian Fascist fundamentalism. For example, the whole assault on the right to abortion. And speaking of this, there is something we really should emphasize: These dark ages fanatics are not just going after abortion, they are moving very directly now in opposition to birth control as well. As kind of an aside, but an important one, this really illustrates what’s actually involved here. This point has been made before, but I want to really drive it home, that this opposition to birth control, as well as abortion, sharply illustrates how much this is about the subjugation of women and treating them as breeding machines, as well as sex objects, and how it’s not at all about ‘the killing of babies.’”10 (2016)

Break ALL the Chains Full cover 300

 

“Certainly, all these Catholic reactionaries who are opposed to abortion are also opposed to birth control. It is a matter of official Catholic Church doctrine to oppose birth control, for a fundamental reason that is very much at the heart of this whole issue: according to this reactionary religious viewpoint, a woman's role is to be a subordinate to her husband and a breeder of his children, and birth control as well as abortion can undermine that. And the Protestant fundamentalist fascists are also overwhelmingly opposed to birth control—not only outside the confines of marriage, but even within it... This is not only a crucial issue in an overall sense, but it is being even more sharply posed in the aftermath of the 2004 election, where the Christian Fascists are pushing like crazy to abolish the right to abortion—they are insisting to Bush and the Republicans: ‘You've gotta deliver on this now.’ That is why they went after Arlen Specter (a long-time Senator from Pennsylvania, who is supposedly a more ‘moderate Republican,’ whatever that means), because Specter cautioned Bush about nominating people as judges who would support the outright outlawing of abortion…”11 (2005)

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“The Christian fascist zealotry in opposition to abortion is not really about the fraudulent notion that abortion amounts to ‘killing babies’ (the overwhelming majority of abortions are carried out during the early stages of pregnancy, when the fetus is tiny and very undeveloped—and, during the whole period of pregnancy, the fetus is part of, completely integrated with and dependent on the body and bodily functions of the woman: it is not yet an actual independent human being). That this opposition to abortion is not about ‘killing babies’ is demonstrated by (among other things) the fact that these opponents of the right to abortion also oppose, with equal fanaticism, birth control which prevents pregnancy in the first place.”12 (2020)

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“Here is another profound truth: Even with all the ways that the heavy chains of hundreds, and thousands, of years of oppressive tradition weigh down on the masses of people—and place a heavy burden particularly on the half of humanity that is female—there is a deep yearning to be free of all this, which not only leads to imaginary hopes of supernatural salvation but also erupts in unrestrained fury right in this real world. And that fury needs to be fully called forth, given a scientific, revolutionary expression—focused toward the emancipation of all the oppressed and exploited of the world, and ultimately all humanity—directed to fighting against the fundamental source of all the suffering: this system of capitalism-imperialism, with its suffocating and brutal, patriarchal male supremacy, along with all its other outrages. This takes on even more powerful meaning and urgent importance in the current situation in this country (and others), where the forceful assertion of raw misogyny (hatred of women) and patriarchal subjugation of women is becoming more blatant and unbridled, focused to a significant degree now in the escalating moves to even further deny women control over their own lives and their very bodies, with the right to abortion, and even birth control, being brought under mounting attack. Right now, this slogan and call needs to be taken up broadly and made a powerful material force: Break the Chains, Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!13 (2021)

Announcing New work by BA, SOMETHING TERRIBLE, OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING:

 

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FOOTNOTES:

1. “Our Fury Over Abortion Was Dismissed for Decades As Hysterical,” by Rebecca Traister, May 17, 2019The Cut [back]

2. “The Stealth War on Abortion,” by Janet Reitman, September 15, 2014, RollingStone [back]

3. “The Quiet War on Abortion,” by Barry Yeoman, September/October 2001, Mother Jones [back]

4. “Abortion in US: What surprise Supreme Court ruling means,” by  Anthony Zurcher, May 28, 2019, BBC News [back]

5. Opinion: Will the 49th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade be the last one? Abortion rights are under assault,” by Carla Hall, January 21, 2022, Los Angeles Times [back]

6. First published in 1985 and cited in a number of works by BA since then. [back]

7. The Confusion About Abortion” (from Reaching for the Heights and Flying Without a Safety Net, 2002) [back]

8. Away with All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World, Insight Press2008 [back]

9. The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy… And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer,” originally published in 1998 and posted October 17, 2004. [back]

10. The New Communism, The science, the strategy, the leadership for an actual revolution, and a radically new society on the road to real emancipation, Insight Press, 2016 [back]

11. The Bible and Baby-Killing: The Right to Abortion and the Whole Direction of Society,” August 28, 2005. Included in the pamphlet, The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era, 2005. [back]

12. “FASCISTS TODAY AND THE CONFEDERACY: A DIRECT LINE, A DIRECT CONNECTION BETWEEN ALL THE OPPRESSION,” June 29, 2020 [back]

13. SOMETHING TERRIBLE, OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING: Profound Crisis, Deepening Divisions,
The Looming Possibility Of Civil War—And The Revolution That Is Urgently Needed. A Necessary Foundation, A Basic Roadmap For This Revolution
, by Bob Avakian, Revolutionary Leader, Author of the New Communism, December 13, 2021. [back]

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