NEW YORK — More than 125 supporters of women’s rights joined a protest called by the National Organization for Women, and Planned Parenthood, at Brooklyn Borough Hall Sept. 9 opposing an anti-abortion Texas law that went into effect Sept. 1. The law prohibits abortions after a doctor detects a “fetal heartbeat,” around six weeks in most cases, before many women even know they’re pregnant. The only exception is if the woman’s health is in danger.
The law encourages civil, not criminal, charges. It places enforcement of the law in the hands of private citizens, who are urged to sue the woman’s doctors, clinic workers, friends, family, insurance providers and even Uber drivers who they say “abetted” the abortion. But not the woman having the procedure. If the accusers prevail, the defendants have to pay them a minimum of $10,000, plus court costs.
“It’s an attack especially on poor people,” Jennifer Burns told the Militant at the rally. “Rich women have always been able to get an abortion, they can afford to fly to another state.”
This is a working-class question, Sara Lobman, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Manhattan Borough president, told protesters at the action. “We’ve been losing ground ever since the Supreme Court decriminalized abortion in 1973,” she said. That’s largely because the main women’s groups haven’t led a fight, instead telling women to rely on electing Democratic Party politicians.
“This is a dead end,” said Lobman. “Only a mass movement can educate and mobilize the power needed to defend a woman’s right to unrestricted family planning services, including the right to safe and secure abortions.” Nationwide protests in defense of a woman’s right to choose are planned for Oct. 2.