The contradiction between reform and revolution is a constant dynamic within the capitalist system. The limits of capitalism and the bosses’ dictatorship determine much of the struggle that workers are able to do up until the revolution. The major reform struggle and victory that Women’s reproductive rights had with Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that gave women reproductive rights by allowing them to terminate the fetus in their body, is now under major assault by the right wing fundamentalists and many elements of the capitalist class. Though it did not fully emancipate women from the sole economic burden of child rearing, it did allow women to completely control their bodies and not be seen solely as baby factories. It was a victory in the reform struggle, but like all reform victories, it can be taken away at a later date. Gov. Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota approved the nation’s toughest abortion restrictions on Tuesday, signing into law a measure that would ban most abortions and inviting a legal showdown over just how much states can limit access to the procedure.
The ruling class of the United States has always had reproductive rights available to them. They did not have to worry about back alley coat hanger abortions, as even when abortion was illegal, there were many doctors who would perform the procedure for the right price. The right price excluded most of the working class, and untold numbers of working class women died trying to get the procedure done.
At this point, with Imperialist war looming and the need for soldiers to be bullet sponges in their imperialist oil wars and low wage workers having to super-exploit themselves in the interests of maximizing profits, the capitalists are using idealism in order to get women to buy into anti-reproductive rights legislature. Not to mention the fact that, The drop in U.S. births to their lowest level since 1920 is sounding alarms among the bourgeoisie who rely on mass influxes of immigration and on working class women producing children and being forced to work for any kind of demeaning and low wage job that they can get in order for them to cover the costs of raising a child. The mass struggle that led to Roe vs. Wade in the first place has been slowly reversed and is now definitely not in the interest of the bourgeoisie. They have all of the reproductive rights they’ll ever need, but they need more and more women to have the economic burden of child rearing and the economic subjugation of having to stay in abusive relationships in order for them to have the economic partner to raise a child.
Though the bosses’ media is trying to frame this as a battle over choice, it is really a battle over production. Can women be in charge of their bodies and determine who and why they will reproduce? The Soviet Union became the first country to where women could have an abortion on request and usually for no cost. It is the Communist movement that was the shining example of reproductive rights and it is the Communist Progressive Labor Party that will not just give reproductive rights to women after the revolution, but will allow them to fully develop as human beings and full members of the working class as they will not be solely responsible for the economic rearing of children. The whole of society will work together to ensure that all of our children develop into the thinkers that will rebuild society.
Instead, the insurance companies, in their constant pursuit of profit, would love to be able to not have to pay for women to not be economically subjugated to the sexist social structures of hearth and home. Though the insurance companies can’t avoid paying for heart attacks and other “involuntary” health crisis, they would love to be able to stop paying for women to be able to terminate their pregnancies. Anything that they can do to cut a cost, they will do. If they can cut a cost and help to intensify the special oppression of women under capitalism, then all the better for the bourgeoisie.
The reform struggle against the sexist attack on women’s reproductive rights is an important one for us to frame correctly. We must avoid the bourgeois emphasis on choice and make sure to point out that this is about a women’s identity as a baby factory or as a person. Whose body is it that’s primary? Should the body of the developing fetus be primary over the body that it happens to be in? It’s a production issue over who controls the means of production, and a woman should control the means of her production, her relationship to her body.