Sunday, January 29, 2012

January 26, 2012
Dear Friend,
Happy 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade , the monumental U.S. Supreme
Court decision legalizing abortion throughout the United States! Abortion is
a simple medical procedure that is vital for women to exercise any form of
control over their lives. But despite its safety and legality, the fight for full
reproductive health care for all women continues.

Last year a record 135 new provisions related to reproductive rights were
passed in the United States, including bans on funding, prohibitions against
abortion after a certain gestation period, forced waiting periods, and
mandatory ultrasounds. When abortion is unavailable or unaffordable, it is
poor women who suffer because they can't pay the medical fees and travel
costs, or take the time to overcome all the outrageous barriers that have
been devised by opponents of women's equality.

But there's good news too. Reproductive rights advocates are mobilizing.
Last summer, activists converged in Maryland to defend Dr. LeRoy Carhart
and the Germantown Reproductive Health Services from Operation
Rescue harassment. Recently, voters in Mississippi rejected a "fertilized-
egg-as-person" amendment to the state constitution that would have
effectively banned abortions and many forms of contraception. New
legislation has been introduced in Washington State to require private
insurance plans to cover abortion if they cover maternity care. Young
feminists in the Occupy movement are embracing the fight for reproductive
justice and gender equality.

Where to next? With a presidential election looming, the pressure is
increasing to "elect Democrats to protect us from Republicans." This is an
often tried and always failed approach. The Democratic Party is a capitalist
party that maintains loyalty to its investment base, not the voter base. The
wealth of the 1% rests on the second-class status of women, queers and
people of color. Corporate America's massive profits demand the super-
exploitation of women providing free labor in the home (cooking, cleaning,
care of the young, sick and elderly) and cheap labor on the job.

Many hoped President Obama would be different; that he would champion
women's equality. Instead, his policies have repeatedly sided with the far
right. Federal health reform sacrificed abortion coverage. In December, the
Obama Administration took the unprecedented step of overruling the Food
and Drug Administration's decision to remove age restrictions on Emergency
Contraception. These are not isolated incidents. Jodi Jacobson's article in
Conscience Magazine, "Is Obama Prochoice? " concludes that "the
President has presided over the greatest erosion to women's reproductive
health and rights in the past 30 years, and a continuing degradation of our
rights at the state level."
Welcome to Brownbackistan!
Instead of diverting energy into electing Democrats, feminists should
continue the momentum of the vibrant Occupy movement and demand
what workingclass women and men need - things like healthcare (with
full reproductive services), food, social services, housing, and union-wage
jobs. We must look beyond politics-as-usual to support socialist or anti-
capitalist candidates who will take action in the interest of the 99%.

Let's make the next year one of tremendous growth for the movements
for equality and justice!
In struggle,
Anne Slater
National Organizer
Radical Women
National Radical Women
747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone 415-864-1278 * Fax 415-864-0778
Donations are needed and appreciated. Please contribute online or mail a
check, payable to "National Radical Women" to 5018 Rainier Ave. S.,
Seattle, WA 98118.

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