Socialist Tactics to Defend Abortion Rights

6.4 minute read

By Emma F, Seattle DSA member Since the Supreme Court leak on May 2nd, there have been hundreds of abortion rights protests throughout the country, including student walk-outs and at … Read more

By Emma F, Seattle DSA member

Since the Supreme Court leak on May 2nd, there have been hundreds of abortion rights protests throughout the country, including student walk-outs and at least one workplace strike. We demanded what nearly 70% of Americans are in support of — upholding the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

There was a call for a day of action across the country on May 14th by the Women’s March, Planned Parenthood, and others. In Seattle, Planned Parenthood sponsored a rally in Cal Anderson Park, and DSA joined the socialist contingent at the rally, and helped to push the narrative that voting blue and sharing our stories is not enough. After the Planned Parenthood rally ended, socialists led about 1,000 attendees in a spontaneous march which shut down major streets in Capitol Hill. Then we pulled together a rally declaring that structural change and challenging capitalism and the billionaire class is how we’re going to see real liberation from patriarchal laws and institutions that ban women and people with uteruses from our rights to reproductive health.

At our DSA table, 200 people signed our petition to protect abortion rights and get on DSA’s email and phone list! SDSA members also collected 400 signatures for the House our Neighbors ballot initiative petition and 1,000 signatures for the Whole Washington ballot initiative!

The tactics from liberals for reproductive rights include supporting the election of more Democrats, donating money to charitable and advocacy organizations, and when things get really bad, showing up to a rally or march. Rallies and marches are extremely important tactics for moving public opinion and putting pressure on people in power to act. However, if these public actions are not challenging the system that is the root cause of the oppression, and demanding only reform rather than an end to that system, then it calls into question the effectiveness of these public actions.

Our tactics, as socialists, need to tie our fight for abortion rights to the broader needs and demands of working people:

  1. Medicare for All that includes free access to abortion, gender affirming care, and free ongoing care for non-residents.
  2. Reproductive rights that not only includes the right to abortion but also the right to be able to afford children by having:
    1. 1 year paid parental leave
    2. free public childcare
    3. quality public schools
    4. quality affordable social housing, and
    5. a Green New Deal so that our children have a world fit to live in!

As socialists, we need to build mass power to win these demands. The liberal feminist movement has not called for Medicare for All, nor have they been effective in their strategies to protect reproductive rights. It’s the failure of their liberal strategy which has gotten us to this point where the Supreme Court is on the verge of overturning Roe v Wade. That’s why we are building a socialist feminist movement, building DSA, and challenging the liberal feminist leadership.

The Supreme Court indicated that they plan to announce their ruling soon, mostly likely some time in June.

Seattle DSA’s Local Council voted to join the Reproductive Justice Coalition which is planning a protest within 24 hours of the Supreme Court’s announcement. Please come to the protest and invite others to join us on the day of the decision at 5 pm at the Federal Building downtown at 2nd and Madison.  Another campaign called Rise Up for Abortion Rights, which is led by the Revolutionary Communist Party, is calling a protest unfortunately on the same day at 5 pm at Westlake plaza. But fortunately they have an additional protest the day after the Supreme Court ruling at 5 pm at Westlake plaza at 4th and Pine.

The most important is the protest to come to is the one on the day of the Supreme Court ruling where 1-2 DSA members, Stephanie Gallardo and/or Sunny Rao, will be speaking. But it’s also great to come to the protest the next day as well.

To get the action alerts, make sure you are on DSA’s email list and Slack.

Looking Ahead

The Supreme Court’s ruling won’t end or resolve the conflict over reproductive rights. Their plan to overturn Roe v Wade is unpopular and a significant overreach. Biden and Congress still have the power to implement the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify Roe v Wade into law nationwide, regardless of what the Supreme Court or any state government says.  

But we know that the Democrats and liberal groups usually roll over and give up every time Senator Manchin refuses to support progressive legislation. That’s why DSA and other socialists need to be pushing progressive organizations to call for a million person march on Washington in September.

There is so much popular anger about this Supreme Court decision, that if Planned Parenthood called for a million person march this September, it would materialize. And after a million person march, the movement would feel more empowered to escalate our tactics through more student walk-outs, civil disobedience, and workplace strikes. We think these are really important ideas that we’re hoping to promote at the upcoming protest.
DSA has had 2 successful planning/button-making/postering parties to prepare for these protests. Our third will be this Friday, June 17.  Please RSVP and join us