Over the past several months there has been a string of assaults against women’s reproductive rights unleashed by the Republican Party and their right-wing supporters.
Across the country Republican-dominated legislatures have introduced draconian laws to restrict the right of women to have control over their own bodies. They have granted fetuses full legal rights or “personhood.” They have required invasive medical procedures in the form of transvaginal ultrasounds before abortions are permitted. And they have attempted to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood which millions of poor and working women rely upon on for basic healthcare.
All of this culminated and found its full expression in the utterly despicable words of Rush Limbaugh when he called a college student a “slut” and “prostitute” for testifying before the Senate on the need for funding for contraception for women’s basic health. These disgusting remarks, aimed at silencing a woman for speaking out, has set off a firestorm of condemnation from millions which resulted in over 100 companies so far pulling their ads from the Rush Limbaugh show!
The battle over access to contraception, a long accepted and settled fundamental aspect of women’s health, took center stage when conservative bishops, backed and encouraged by the Republican Party, objected to allowing birth control to be made available to female employees of religiously affiliated institutions. Republicans then attempted to prevent women from testifying before Congress about this debate that would directly affect women. The Republican Party has no problem allowing the government to intrude on women’s rights, despite their demands for smaller government, yet they stand firmly opposed to governmental regulations of corporations or investigations into corruption on Wall Street.
In response to these unprecedented attacks on women’s rights, women’s rights supporters are organizing a “March against the War on Women” in all 50 states on April 28th. All activists need to unite and go all out for a massive mobilization for this day of action. It is only by building a fighting mass movement in the streets that we can defeat the right-wing assault on women. This is the way democratic rights have been won in the past, as shown in the civil rights, LGBT, labor and women’s movements, and it’s the key to defending and extending our rights today!
While it’s true that the Democratic Party has opposed much of the Republicans’ recent legislative and rhetorical attacks on women, they are exploiting this issue for their own political advantage this election year. An honest look at the Democratic Party’s record shows that they have again and again proven themselves unreliable allies of women’s rights as a conservative, pro-capitalist party of the 1%. From gutting social services and programs that women rely on, to failing to fight for a single-payer healthcare system that would ensure free access to abortion, family planning, and women’s healthcare, the Democratic Party has routinely sided with their big-business backers against the basic needs of women.
We need to go all out to build for the April 28th protests as the first step toward rebuilding a powerful independent women’s rights movement. These protests should organize around a bold, fighting program to answer the attacks of the religious right:
- Expand the campaign to force sponsors to remove their ads from the Rush Limbaugh Show and radio stations to stop airing his hate-filled message!
- Defend access and funding for birth control and abortion!
- A single-payer healthcare system where all reproductive health services are provided, free at the point of use, for all women regardless of employment status or their employer’s religion!
- Sex education in schools, grounded in established science, not abstinence programs
- A real pro-life program of ending poverty – create jobs for all and raise the minimum wage to $12.50/hour
- Tax corporations and millionaires to fund universal, high-quality childcare