Revolution #86, April 29, 2007
From Iraq to the Supreme Court
A New Dark Ages for Women
"The Supreme Court's decision is an affirmation of the progress we have made over the past six years in protecting human dignity."
-- George W. Bush, praising the Supreme Court decision to uphold the ban on dilation and extraction abortions, April 18, 2007
"What does that mean, 'outrages upon human dignity'?"
-- George W. Bush, lashing out against the Geneva Conventions and demanding that Congress remove legal obstacles to torture, September 6, 2006
In an act of perverse dishonesty, Bush claimed the war on Iraq would liberate women. In reality, it has visited the stench of death upon the birth wards, the bedrooms of children, and the daily routines of women as well as men throughout Iraq. In the post-Saddam central power vacuum, Sharia law is flourishing, forcing women under the hijab, fostering "honor killings" and filling the morgues with growing numbers of women's bodies bearing signs of rape, sexual mutilation and torture. A dark curtain is being pulled over the schools that once served girls, and dreams of equality are being snuffed out.
Here at home, George Bush's claim to support the liberation of women is more shameless hypocrisy. Speaking sanctimoniously about the "value" of fetal tissue, Bush has overseen the most aggressive and cruel assault on women's fundamental rights and the fostering of an openly patriarchal culture.
Yesterday's Supreme Court decision, which Bush heralded, criminalized the abortion procedure scientifically known as dilation and extraction (and manipulatively labeled "partial birth abortion" by anti-choice fanatics) and was written so vaguely that it could be used to ban the most common abortion procedure used by women after the first trimester. It is a law that lays the basis to begin sending the courageous doctors who provide women abortion procedures--often at the risk of death--to prison. And, in a situation where lack of abortion access is beginning to drive women to seek illegal abortions, this new law is a five ton weight pressed down on women's lives already stalked by brutality, degradation, and endless insults large and small. It is not only a new legal precedent along the way towards outlawing abortion, it is also red meat thrown to a hungry movement of Christian fascists determined to end not only abortion, but also birth control and any kind of independence of women.
If women are not free to decide for themselves without shame and without apology when and whether they will become mothers, they cannot be free. If women are not free, then no one can be free.
Although the forms of the oppression of women in this country are today different, this Christian fascist movement in the U.S. is the near twin of the movements imposing Sharia law in Iraq, only it is far more powerful given that it is embedded within the ruling elites of the world's only superpower. It is rooted in a literal interpretation of a scripture every bit as brutal as the Qur'an--biblical scripture that casts child-bearing as the only way women can be redeemed for their alleged "original sin": "For Adam was first formed, then Eve; and Adam was not beguiled, but the woman being beguiled hath fallen into transgression: but she shall be saved through her child-bearing." (1 Timothy 2:13-15) This movement has initiative in the ruling class today.
On a world scale the future for women--HALF OF HUMANITY--is in grave danger.
This is not the time for putting one's hopes into a political process that has done nothing but facilitate and legitimate the invasion, occupation, continued occupation and now possible widening of the war on Iraq in the face of massive public opposition. Now is not the time for resting the future of women's control of their own destiny in the same political process that has facilitated and legitimated the chipping away of abortion, clinic closing by clinic closing, law by law, and judicial nominee by judicial nominee.
This is not a time for turning one's energies towards '08 and the slate of Democratic Party hopefuls which have ceded the moral high ground on abortion to religious fanatics and refused to demand an end to colonial occupation of Iraq. This is not a time for remaining polite, being patient, or seeking "common ground."
The Bush administration--and the imperialist system it is a product of--have no claim to any moral high ground in regard to women's lives or in regard to human dignity. With their wars of aggression, their torture, and their frontal assault on the lives of women, this is a time when the direction they are dragging the world in must be resisted. Fiercely. And urgently.
This is a time when Bush must be impeached and his whole direction must be reversed.
And this is a time when everyone seriously concerned about women, here and around the world, must look deeper to see how the oppressive, exploitative, and brutal conditions for women are deeply rooted not only in thousands of years of tradition's chains but also in the basic relations, structures, and institutions of "modern" capitalist society. As Bob Avakian has written, "The oppression of women is completely bound up with the division of society into masters and slaves, exploiters and exploited, and the ending of all such conditions is impossible without the complete liberation of women. All this is why women have a tremendous role to play not only in making revolution but in making sure there is all-the-way revolution."
For all those who thought "they would never outlaw abortion" let this be our final, sobering wake-up call. Let it be said that this Supreme Court decision was the final straw after which a powerful resistance rose.
For all those heartsick after four years of unjust war, let us shake off passivity and complicity and prepare for struggle.
For all those who dream of a better world, break the chains! Unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution!
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