From the July-August 2022 issue of News & Letters
SUPREME COURT’S ATTACK ON WOMEN’S FREEDOM
No words, really. I’m not surprised but I’m really not sure why we pay taxes to not have healthcare, to be served possible prison sentences for carrying a fetus you don’t want in your body, guns everywhere, no one can afford to buy a house, and no one can afford children anyway. What is this life?
It doesn’t matter if we can give birth, all of womankind has just been made subordinate in law and reality and in the minds of all the sexist, misogynist pigs who walk the earth. All women are impacted. Some way more than others. Now I welcome menopause. I cannot bear to feel for/with those women in the clinics the day of the Court’s decision in states with trigger laws who were sent home with unwanted pregnancies and told their lives are not their own, nor their futures, nor their health, nor their safety, nor their minds. The state doesn’t care. Well, that’s not true. The state wants to make us powerless because then all women will be seen as “less than.” Even less than a fertilized egg.
Anti-abortionists want to dominate thinking of women by calling the fetus a “baby” until everyone believes that Big Lie. A fetus only becomes a baby after it is born. But they want to make it a legal person with rights from the moment of conception. Will it have responsibilities also, like every other good citizen? Will it have to pay taxes, be drafted into the military? We have already seen cases where mothers’ health or lives have been forcibly sacrificed to keep fetuses alive. This false ideology negates the personhood of the already-born, especially the mother.
The chump-packed U.S. Supreme Court’s fascists plan is to strip women of the right to own and control their bodies. Make no mistake about what is coming. The right-wing bloc will not stop with women. Civil Rights for Black, Brown, and LGBTQ+ will be on the religious-right-controlled “cancel” agenda of the Court. Activists, get organized and fight back or prepare to go back to the pre-Civil Rights 1950s America.
John Taylor #148535
FCF, P.O. Box 999, Cañon City, Colo. 81215
I’m glad to hear that many U.S. companies are pissed about the truly anti-life decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. So are some Canadian companies that operate in the U.S. The Canadian government is setting aside funding for more abortion care to help women in the U.S. Birth control and same-sex relationships are still under strong protection here. I’m sad and sickened by what is happening to women in the U.S.
These unelected Supreme Court judges, appointed by presidents who lost the vote and disapproved by senators who represented a majority of the voters, were foisted on us by power-hungry people in order to violate the clear wishes of the vast majority. This is not logical legal reasoning, it is a judicial coup by ideological fanatics who want to suppress freedom and democracy.
ABORTION, HEALTHCARE AND WOMEN’S MOVEMENT
What has always made me angry was the fact that women’s clinics had to be created to meet women’s need for abortions. Why weren’t abortions performed in hospitals from the minute Roe v. Wade became the law of the land? Had this been the case, it would have legitimized and regulated abortion from its legal beginnings and reduced the spectacle of anti-abortion fanatics screaming “murderer” at women walking into freestanding healthcare clinics. Women’s health needs have never been a government priority, as seen in the shamefully high maternal mortality rate in the U.S.
When Roe v. Wade was announced, women’s liberationists celebrated, but then didn’t fight for regulation that would ensure facilities were medically sound and would prevent unscrupulous clinics from providing unsafe care, or pretending to provide abortion care when in fact snookering women into keeping their pregnancies until it was too late to have an abortion. Meanwhile the anti-abortionists crafted regulations that would make it impossible to provide abortions. This is why “revolution in permanence” is so important. White middle-class women did not fight against the Hyde Amendment as it mostly affected poor women and women of color.
The Supreme Court said there was no history in the Constitution of an abortion right. Neither was there a right to vote for women or Black people. Black men and women were not counted as human. Will the Court argue the same way when they try to take away women’s right to contraception, to vote or the personhood of Black people?
Susan Van Gelder
Not only did many women continue to fight to protect and expand abortion rights before and after the introduction of the Hyde Amendment, but these fights continued beyond that time. I cut my political teeth as a student participating in clinic defenses in the 1980s, so I know women did not go on a vacation after abortion became legal. I would posit rather that the broader women’s movement’s acceptance of Roe as “the best we can do” to expand abortion rights, by accepting its being nestled under a “privacy” right, rather than pushing for a more expansive foundation as a right against discrimination (e.g., the implication of Catharine MacKinnon’s critique, and also a part of parallel legal battles that were superseded by the Roe victory) turned out to be a fundamental weakness. The ideology of Roe then morphed into abortion rights being about individual “choice”, which gradually became the individualizing discourse of many feminists (choice feminism), leading to the disintegration of the collective ethos of earlier feminists.
As predicted, some doctors in anti-abortion states are now so scared of prosecution that they are turning away women with ectopic pregnancy, which can be fatal if not treated and will certainly cause miscarriages. This era really is more dangerous than pre-Roe—and then we have the disgusting spectacle of some “pro-lifers” rejoicing in women’s deaths.
All these sanctimonious right-wing Republicans who opine about how their stand on outlawing all abortions, including for rape, incest, and serious harm to the pregnant woman is because they believe in “the sanctity of life,” should amend their statements and tell the truth. They believe in the sanctity of life unless that life is the life of a woman. Clearly, they don’t give a damn about her, either her health, or her life after she is forced to carry a pregnancy to term against her will and better judgment.
ABORTION UNSEPARATED FROM ALL FREEDOM STRUGGLES
I’m feeling really horrible about abortion no longer being legal throughout the U.S. Powerless, helpless, and hopeless. I think this really is the transition to full fascism. Not the beginning, but a turning point. Also, I read “Russian invasion and Ukrainian resistance shake up the world” (May-June 2022 N&L). I was so happy to see abortion mentioned there because of horrible misogyny and how repressive Poland is when the country is being touted as great humanitarians. Except when it comes to women. I haven’t heard anyone else mention it and that omission has pissed me off. Abortion is either siloed off as a single issue or totally collapsed into every other struggle, EXCEPT the struggle against sexism proper.
GAY PRIDE: WHOSE BODIES? OURS!
On June 29 San Francisco held its first Gay Pride march since the pandemic. It was unusually massive this year, some estimate over 500,000. The traditional opening by Dykes on Bikes was followed immediately by a large contingent shouting “Whose bodies? Our bodies!” in a challenge to the Supreme Court overturning of Roe v Wade.
COLONIZERS PAST AND PRESENT
China’s ruler Xi Jinping in June presided over a celebration of the 360th anniversary of Zheng Chenggong taking part of Taiwan from the Dutch. This was meant to threaten Taiwan with invasion. However, as a historical claim to Taiwan by China, it overlooks the awkward fact that Zheng was in rebellion against the Qing Dynasty, trying to restore the Ming Dynasty. Not to mention how many countries have gained their independence from colonizers since 1662—not just the USA and Ukraine.
Former Taiwan resident
LET THEM EAT ROCKETS
Jeff Bezos launched his penis-shaped rocket again. A TV host was arguing that it is OK for Bezos to do whatever he wants with his money. First of all, it was never OK with me when governments spent peoples’ money on space exploration, and it is no different for billionaires. When I see that robot launch I only see an unnecessary amount of carbon being released into my climate. This carbon release should be a crime. How many cars is equal to just one launch into space for a 10-minute thrill ride?
Recently everyone witnessed another oil spill in Southern California. Who is to blame? Not one news channel blamed the continued use of burning oil for energy as the cause of the oil spill.
Here in Southern California, 40 million people are about to run out of water because not enough snow falls anymore in Colorado. Imperial County grows two-thirds of the nation’s vegetables consumed in winter and depends on the Colorado River. San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas and several other big cities also depend on the Colorado River for drinking water. I can’t go one day without water to drink, but soon millions of people will know the reality of global warming. You have water today, but tomorrow? Will we allow capitalism to kill our planet?
OPPRESSION OF HOMELESS
I oppose California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plans to focus on mandatory psychiatric treatment for homeless people rather than providing adequate housing, jobs and free medical services for unhoused citizens. The U.S.’s extremely competitive economic system is the basic cause of homelessness. In our society everyone is encouraged to compete for their own success against the success of others. With our belief that progress evolves from this endless struggle to survive, some people will inevitably fail and become extremely poor, unemployed and eventually homeless. Not everyone is suited for this continuous struggle to advance and to defeat others. Anyone who is forced to live on the streets without the basic necessities for a good life will slowly develop symptoms of mental illness. No one is so strong that their living on the streets would not begin to make them depressed, angry and prone to drug and alcohol abuse. I’m afraid that until the U.S. undergoes an overall transformation towards greater empathy and compassion for all its people, there is little hope that the plight of homelessness can be ended.
ONLY 14 MORE MASS SHOOTINGS!
The United States of America is doing pretty good. In the week since the mass murder of little kids and a teacher in Uvalde, Texas, the Washington Post reported that there were ONLY 14 MORE mass shootings in our lovely nation! A mass shooting is defined as an incident in which four or more people have been shot, not including the shooter. Gee, just 14 more in almost a week? We’re doing pretty darn good!
CHURCH, STATE, AND FOOTBALL
Rep. Lauren Boebert was widely and rightly mocked for claiming that the Founding Fathers intended for the church to rule over the government, never mind separation of church and state. Then came the Supreme Court decisions that proved at least six people agree with her: States are now mandated to send public funds to religious schools, and coaches at public schools can lead their teams in prayer. What young athlete could afford to say no, when resistance or even lack of enthusiasm might endanger playing time or a spot on the team at all?
Kansas City, Kansas