Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Abortion is Health Care – Mobilizations Against the USA decision to overturn the 1973 Roe V Wade Judgment – American Women Are Being Pushed Back in Time

leave a comment »

United States Supreme Court Justices have decided, in the words of Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi that “Women today will have less rights than their mothers or their grandmothers.”

Reporting from New York, Irish-American pro-choice activist Joan McKiernan describes this step backwards in time. Joan notes that USA pro-choice activists often mention the Irish pro-choice referendum victory of 2018 for inspiration. A demonstration has been organised outside the USA Ballsbridge Embassy on Sunday June 26 (see below).

Dublin Protest

National Women’s Council of Ireland

American Women Are Being Pushed Back in Time – by Joan McKiernan

Massive protests took place in cities and towns across the United States immediately after the long expected announcement of the Supreme Court decision revoking the fifty year constitutional right to abortion. Women, activists, and politicians expressed anger and disappointment, much more so than when the decision was originally leaked. For many, it seemed to take them by surprise, though they had enough warning from the leaked decision. It was as if people did not believe it could really happen. Surely, the Supreme Court would not do this, but they really did.

“Never again!” was quoted often today. I never thought I would have to say that again, said veterans of the fight for abortion rights from the 1960s and 70s. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi spoke the truth when she said, “Women today will have less rights than their mothers or their grandmothers.”

One important theme in these protests is how American women are being pushed back in time. The local protest in my area included this picture from Margaret Atwood’s, Handmaid’s Tale, a reminder that we are going backward in women’s rights, as well as in so many other rights affecting Americans.

Of course, the right wing religious sector are overjoyed with their victory. They are confident that they will be able to move on to get federal laws banning abortions in all states. They are already taking on limiting access to abortion medications, which are currently available online. 

However, the court’s decision is threatening to a number of other important rights which were decided on the same basis as was Roe v Wade, the right to privacy. These include the right to contraception for married couples (Griswold), interracial marriage (Loving) and  sexual intimacy by same-sex couples (Lawrence v Texas). The court’s very narrow decision recognizes only decisions that would have been agreed by the state’s founders, that is, in 1787. How’s that for going back in time? When women, blacks, indigenous and countless others were not quite considered human, never mind worthy of political rights. 

As people are protesting and arguing against the court, they are looking to other countries who have moved forward and recognized the rights to abortion. These include many in Central and South America. Mexico is now offering to help women in Texas come to Mexico to obtain abortions. How’s that for international solidarity?

Ireland’s recent victory, Defeat the 8th, is mentioned often. At a protest about the leaked decision in a suburb of New York City, a speaker told the crowd about Savita Halappanavar, a dentist of Indian origin, living in Ireland, who died in 2012 from sepsis after her request for an abortion was denied on legal grounds. Let’s also remember Ann Lovett, the 15-year-old who gave birth in secret in a religious grotto in 1984. She and her baby died.

Savita, Ann and the millions of women who have been killed by oppressive policies against women’s rights give real meaning to the demand, Never Again!

Irish Labour Party Leader Ivana Bacik TD has issued this statement calling on activists to support the June 26 USA Embassy protest in Ballsbridge, Dublin

In a week where we learned that over 200 women travelled to Britain from Ireland seeking abortion, the decision of the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade represents a shocking step backwards for women’s rights in the US. 

I am shocked and saddened at the news coming from the US today and I want to express my solidarity with all the women and girls who will be so severely impacted by this horrific step back for women’s rights. The landmark Roe v Wade decision had a positive and transforming impact on women’s access to reproductive healthcare in the US; and the overturning of that decision today by the Supreme Court is likely to have a deeply negative effect, to the point where we may see the lives and health of many pregnant women endangered as a result. 

We know from the Irish experience that restricting access to abortion does not prevent crisis pregnancy, but rather it compounds the crisis for women; and we also know from our own experience that constitutional restrictions on access to safe legal abortion can cause serious risks to women’s lives and health.

Join me and Labour members at 5pm on Sunday, June 26th, at the US Embassy Ballsbridge to express solidarity with all the women and girls who will be so severely impacted by this horrific step back for women’s rights and protest the decision to overturn Roe v Wade. 

The effect of today’s Supreme Court decision will be devastating. It will not prevent abortions, but is likely to cause real risk to women’s health in the US. As we conclude the review of abortion law here, we must strengthen our own commitment to improving reproductive healthcare for women in this country.

Hope to see you Sunday,

Initiatives like this should be widely supported, and will be a great help to our American sisters. They will also assist pro-choice activists in Poland and Ukraine. in Poland and Ukraine.

This is one of many protests in the USA

NW Bronx Protest of Supreme Court Overturn of Roe v. Wade

Saturday, June 25, 2022, 1 pm, @ Riverdale Bell Tower Monument, W. 239th St and Riverdale Avenue

Facebook event page, RSVP 

On Friday, June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion after almost 50 years. The SCOTUS decision will lead to almost total bans on abortion in about half of the states. Come out to publicly protest this outrageous decision and the systematic attacks on women’s self-hood, women’s autonomy, women’s rights, women’s incontrovertible right to make decisions about their bodies. No woman can call herself free who does not control her own body. Abortion is Healthcare. Healthcare is a Right.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: