Statement on the Supreme Court Roe Opinion Leak
Statement written by the SPUSA Women's Commission and passed by the National Executive Committee
The Socialist Party USA fully and unequivocally supports and will fight to protect full reproductive rights for all people, including the right to safe, legal, accessible, and affordable abortion on demand. We stand for full reproductive sovereignty, which must include free contraception, free childcare, and socialized medicine for all. True reproductive freedom means having the ability to choose when, if and how we have children. There is no liberty or self-determination without bodily autonomy, the core of our civil rights and freedoms.
As of May 2022, Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are still the law of the land, and abortion is a protected right under the US Constitution until the decision of the court is made public in early June. On Monday, May 2nd, 2022, a draft of a US Supreme Court decision written by Justice Alito was leaked, indicating the court planned to overturn 49 years of legal precedent by overturning the Roe v. Wade decision that protects the constitutional right that legalized abortion in the United States. The opinion expressed in this draft is extreme, based on flimsy legal reasoning, and threatens a broad range of judicial precedents regarding civil rights.
The pro-choice movement and bourgeois feminism have consistently prioritized the needs, voices, and perspectives of privileged white women at the expense of the working-class, LGBTQ+ people, and people of color. The inaccessibility of reproductive healthcare, especially for the working class and communities facing systemic oppression, is a longstanding problem. Due to the ever-increasing number of restrictions designed to limit reproductive freedom, abortion, contraception, and reproductive healthcare are inaccessible for most working-class Americans. Even with Roe and Casey intact, the number of available clinics varies dramatically by state and reproductive healthcare is still prohibitively expensive.
Reforms to the for-profit healthcare system and federal funding of abortion alone will not solve problems woven into the oppressive framework of capitalism itself. A privately owned and profit-motivated healthcare industry is always going to be less accessible when compared to a publicly owned and socially motivated healthcare industry. The inability of capitalism to satisfy the combined healthcare needs of the working class is not anomalous; it is the natural result of the motives and incentives which propel it. Our current system of social and economic exploitation cannot truly be reformed. Reproductive justice cannot be fully realized until we replace for-profit healthcare with universal socialized medicine: a system that provides care based on need rather than wealth, and values human dignity over profit.
So long as any rights granted to the working class can be nullified by an act of Congress, executive order, or Supreme Court ruling, there can be no inalienable rights. Working people under capitalism, non-white people under white supremacy, and non-cishet men under patriarchy have no truly inalienable rights our current system is bound to acknowledge, much less protect. Governments under capitalism will always prioritize preserving the sovereignty of the powerful over the human rights of the subjugated, which will always be secondary to the imagined ‘right’ of the owning classes to hoard wealth and control the most intimate aspects of the lives of the marginalized if it profits them.
In the absence of an intersectional socialist feminist perspective, the abortion debate is framed in terms of pursuing change within the limits of neoliberal institutions, where any meaningful class or race based analysis is severely lacking. Patriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism are all firmly set in a foundation of oppression and only exemplify different iterations of the same system. This foundation set the stage for the inception of this country, the subjugation of the marginalized and denial of their basic human rights isn’t some anomaly, it is the norm.
The two parties of capitalism use wedge issues like abortion to coerce people into voting against their own interests. The fact that the vast majority of Americans, including most Republicans, are opposed to a complete abortion ban has provided a lucrative fundraising opportunity for Democrats, allowing them to fund and run successful campaigns for mediocre politicians who win by effectively holding our reproductive rights for ransom. It is simply not in the Democratic Party’s financial or electoral best interest to achieve a final, decisive victory for choice. This is one reason Roe has always been the floor and not the ceiling in the fight for reproductive choice, since seeking liberation from a flawed concept of equality is dubious at best.
Leaders and elected officials in the Democratic Party have a mixed record on choice, often supporting, endorsing, and running anti-abortion candidates and flip-flopping on the issue when it is politically convenient. After the passage of Roe v. Wade, the Liberal strategy for protecting reproductive choice was almost exclusively defensive and reactionary, even when Democrats held filibuster-proof super-majorities. There was no substantive effort to codify Roe into law, despite promising to do so.
The Democratic Party has a wealth of excuses for their failures, blaming far-left “spoilers” and Republican obstruction, but data and recent history paint a different picture. Democrats have consistently failed at implementing policies and passing legislation in accordance with their campaign promises to working-class and left-wing voters. The ratchet effect has pushed the Democratic candidates so far right that they are where the Tea Party Republicans of a decade ago stood on many issues, helping to open the window to far-right candidates. Since Democrats have consistently failed at protecting reproductive rights despite having at various points in history a super-majority in both houses, a liberal majority in the Supreme Court, and control of the White House -- then they are unable (or unwilling) to protect reproductive rights. Americans must seek answers outside and beyond the two parties of capitalism. The choice between voting for a far-right capitalist and a center-right capitalist with economically analogous views is a duopoly, not a democracy.
Meaningful, revolutionary change that places power in the hands of the working class cannot and will not come through capitalist institutions. The political parties of the capitalist duopoly seek to maintain the status quo at any cost, even if it means siding with fascists to defeat the far left. Significant victories for working people are only possible when the hands of the owning classes are forced by powerful grassroots movements.
Now is the time to mobilize, while we still can. Even if we stand alone, it is our duty to and organize with, support, and defend the most vulnerable people. We cannot sit on our hands, give up hope, or expect the same people and groups that failed to pass legislation to protect reproductive rights after Roe was first decide, in states where tripwire laws haven’t already banned abortion. This is an issue that affects all of us, and now more than ever, an injury to one is an injury to all. This time the far-right set upon our reproductive rights, but we know that trans people, gay people, immigrants, and communities of color are next. We will not succeed without working-class solidarity, now more than ever we need to work side-by-side with anti-capitalist comrades and dedicate ourselves to organizing within our communities.
We have a critical opportunity to build a revolutionary movement that guarantees a sustainable, peaceful, egalitarian future. We have won this fight before, we can and will do it again, there is no other option. And we will win the same way we always have: together. Only when we stand together, do we have the collective power to challenge the status quo of social and economic injustice. Together we can make a better world for working people now, and a sustainable, post-capitalist future without poverty, ecological devastation, and war.
Please join the Socialist Party USA in our fight for reproductive rights! If you are already an SP-USA member and face systemic oppression because of your gender identity, consider joining the women’s commission. This fight is not and will not be over until we achieve full liberation and seize the reins of power that are rightly ours, please help and get involved in any way you can. Do not give in to despair and anger, turn those emotions into action and change. There are many groups organizing to provide vital reproductive services, below are some resources that can help.
Reprocare Healthline (1-833-226-7821) – Provides anonymous peer-based emotional support, medical information, and referrals to people having an abortion at home with pills. All-Options (1-888-493-0092) – Offers full-spectrum free peer counseling to callers from anywhere in the US or Canada.
Exhale Pro Voice text-based reproductive healthcare support (617 749-2948) –Nonjudgement, supportive, peer Pro-Voice counseling
Find an abortion clinic near you
Make sure to call ahead to ensure they are open, what your options are, what the laws require in your area. Be wary of 'pregnancy crisis centers', who pretend to be doctors but exist to lie to, use emotional manipulation and abuse, to threaten or trick pregnant people into carrying unwanted pregnancies to term by any means. Don't be afraid to request a free escort to your appointment.
NAF Hotline (1-800-772-9100) – A national, multi-lingual Hotline for abortion referrals and financial assistance. The Hotline is free and offers services to everyone, regardless of your individual situation. https://www.abortionfinder.org/ https://ineedana.com/ https://abortioncarenetwork.org/abortion-care-providers/ https://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-center https://www.mychoix.co/abortion-care contraceptive and abortion telehealthcare Abortion medications by mail (available for shipping to addresses in MN and VA) National Network of Abortion Funds – Connect with organizations that can support your financial and logistical needs as you arrange for your abortion. List of abortion funding help by state: https://providecare.org/financial-resources-abortion/
Facts about abortion
https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/abortion/considering-abortion/what-facts-about-abortion-do-i-need-know http://www.1in3campaign.org/resources/abortion-information-resources https://www.reproductiveaccess.org/abortion/
Join or reach out to the SP-USA Women's Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org