Roe v. Wade Day 2015

Dear Friend,

Today marks the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. The battle to keep and expand reproductive rights has been long and arduous. The far-right continues to mobilize on many fronts – from harassing clinics to promoting legislation that strangles the life out of women’s rights. And this year promises to be a real brawl with an overtly anti-choice Republican dominated Congress.

What’s a feminist to do? We cannot rely on Democratic Party politicians to champion women rights. While Obama has promised to veto some bills, Democrats already partnered with Republicans in slashing desperately needed social services, including food stamps, childcare and housing.

But these battles are not new and there is much to learn from the campaigns our foremothers waged. Below is a leaflet from a 1985 reproductive rights rally that outlines how to build a united feminist front to mobilize for victory. It’s a strategy we need as much now as then. Radical Women will continue to fight for full reproductive justice and looks forward to collaborating with you.

In struggle,

Anne Slater
National Organizer
Radical Women


Radical Women flyer issued September 29, 1985 for the “Community Rally: Protect Reproductive Rights” in California.

Full Reproductive Rights Now!

Today’s rally in support of the Women’s Choice Clinic of Richmond, target of right wing harassment and picketing, sends a clear message to anti-abortionists that women in the Bay Area are determined to defend and maintain quality health care and the right to choose to have an abortion. Full reproductive freedom means that we must have total control of our bodies! Any lesser demand places women’s lives in constant jeopardy as shifts occur in the political climate of this country.

The Right Wing’s Agenda

Nationally, the right wing’s continued violent assault on abortion rights through clinic bombings, harassment, vandalism and legal challenges is part of a calculated effort to control women and to reduce us to breeders — forced out of the labor market and condemned to unpaid slavery in the home. When women cannot choose when and if to have children, we cannot keep a job, support our families or choose to be economically independent from men.

The anti-abortion movement, with its multiplicity of lies, has one aim: to destroy human rights in the interest of preserving the status quo. Organized against abortion on one hand, they are also opposed to birth control. They block funds for federal and state-funded abortions for poor women, but gladly open their pocketbooks for forced sterilization of women of color, investment in apartheid and support of Central American contras. Their “pro-life” agenda includes leaving AIDS victims to die, instead of funding research and support services.

They seek to overturn legalized abortion, one of the safest medical procedures a woman can undergo. In the name of “life,” the right wing would leave women to die on the chopping blocks of illegal, back-alley abortionists.

Women’s Freedom: Threat to the U.S. Economy

During economic crises, the right wing, financed by big business, is the most visible and vocal representative of the private profit system. The fight for abortion and full reproductive freedom is so explosive because women’s equality — socially, politically, and economically — threatens the foundations of capitalism. Women’s unpaid domestic labor and low wages in the workplace sustain the capitalist system and mean huge profits for the bosses. Every gain we make — from union organizing to reproductive rights — erodes the power of the bosses, the state and the church to control our lives in the interests of their profits. The only lasting protection for reproductive rights and other freedoms will be a socialist society organized around human needs instead of private profits.

Strategy for Victory — Build a United Feminist Front!

It is imperative that our strategy to keep control of our bodies be militant and multi-issue. Through this approach, the feminist movement won the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. Single-issue attempts focused only on abortion ignore our allies in the labor, people of color, anti-war, anti-apartheid and lesbian/gay movements.

Today’s demonstration is a united front in which dozens of endorsers rallied around uncompromising demands to win reproductive freedom. It is a big step towards building the alliances that will bring victory in the fight for abortion rights. We must continue the work we have begun today by uniting behind a feminist, democratic, anti-racist and radical program in which the demands of the most oppressed women must be met.

Back-room deals and trading away issues like poker chips have dealt disastrous blows to the women’s movement. Maneuvering among politicians by single-issue liberal feminists, instead of organizing among our allies, has left us on the defensive in the fight for abortion. We can regain our advantage through mass public pressure and the consistent and militant demands of feminists demonstrating in the streets. We must be visible in pro-abortion demonstrations and in community defense of our clinics.

The multi-pronged attack by the right on women, immigrants, gays and lesbians, people of color, Jews, unionists, and the Central American and South African revolutions affects us all. Together we can inspire the abortion rights movement — and every other movement under rightwing fire — to unity and victory.

Feminist Have No Time to Lose. We Must…
  • Join coalitions to fight for reproductive rights. Help build a multi-issue defense of reproductive rights for all women with no compromises on the rights of women of color, poor women, women workers, lesbians and radicals.

  • Build community defense of abortion clinics. Feminists must join together with other movements to confront the anti-abortionists on the steps of our clinics. Relying on the police or the FBI for clinic defense will be suicidal to our movement. U.S. police agencies are out to divide and destroy our movements, and to promote government policies that are clearly anti-abortion and pro-right wing.

  • Defend Roe v. Wade. Militant feminists won Roe v. Wade through mass demonstrations, public education and by linking the fight for reproductive rights to affirmative action, round-the-clock, quality childcare and the civil rights struggle. We must fight Reagan’s attack on Roe v. Wade by using the same tactics.