"This assault is abetted by the “culture wars.” Corporations, and the politicians and media they control, have allied with certain very conservative religious groups who want to force women back into a past where most white women were expected to stay at home raising children and women of color to work either directly as their servants or in very low-paid factory, service, and agricultural jobs despite having children of their own.
The right to choose abortion is the most volatile reproductive rights issue. The landmark Supreme Court case Roe vs. Wade in 1973 legalized abortion without restriction in the first trimester of pregnancy, but allows states to regulate or ban later abortions, other than in cases of rape or incest or to preserve a woman’s life or health. Just during the period of 2011 to 2013, 200 abortion restrictions were passed; 70 in 2013, mostly at the state level, resulting in widely divergent rights depending in which state a woman lives.
These include outright bans on later-term abortion; cutting funds to facilities that perform abortions (thus eliminating a full range of health services to women who rely on clinics for other medical needs); requiring abortions to be performed in hospitals or only by doctors with hospital privileges; allowing hospitals to refuse to perform any abortions; and forcing women to wait several days, submit to invasive transvaginal ultrasounds, or watch videos with medically incorrect information designed to scare or shame them. Efforts are to underway to outlaw insurance coverage for abortion.
Meanwhile, harassment and violence against abortion providers (including several murders) have resulted in most women in the U.S. no longer having access to abortion services except in major metropolitan areas.
Attacks on reproductive health disproportionately affect low-income women, who tend to be women of color. With fewer financial resources and less access to contraception, insurance, and healthcare generally, poor women have higher incidences of unintended pregnancies and thus a higher rate of unplanned births and abortions. In 2008, for example, 62% of all abortions were for low-income women.
The anti-choice forces are attacking contraception, too, such as trying to pass laws requiring women to tell employers that they are using contraceptives. Already, some states allow pharmacists to refuse to fill contraceptive prescriptions. Since contraception is specifically for the purpose of reducing unplanned pregnancies and thus avoiding the need for abortion, this provides evidence that the overall goal of the attack on reproductive rights is not just about eliminating abortion. Rather, it is about forcing women back into a state where they have no legal rights to control their own bodies at all, thus allowing them to be super-exploited.
What Can Labor Do About the War on Women?
Unfortunately, despite the many organizations that work hard on a state and local level to defend reproductive rights, the women’s movement is fragmented. There is no longer a large, visible, and cohesive movement that can turn out hundreds of thousands, even millions, of women in the streets to demand, win, and defend reproductive rights. Most action today is strictly defensive and not directed at regaining or expanding rights.
Thanks to a lot of effort on the part of union women, organized labor supports women’s rights generally, but unions could be doing a lot more, especially around reproductive rights.
First, while labor cannot substitute for the lack of a strong women’s movement, we can be a reliable ally to whatever movement exists. We can join coalitions that support reproductive rights and organize our members to taking part in demonstrations, lobbying efforts, and clinic defense."
Again, too long and boring dummy..........