Communist Party USA

  It took a movement analyzing our conditions and studying our history to say, “Restrictions on abortion and birth control are deliberate actions taken by people who are benefiting at our expense. They’re part of a larger pattern of oppression and exploitation aimed at making our reproductive labor cheap or free.” But instead, our movement has been saying, “This is a very personal decision.” —Jenny Brown, Without Apology You bet it’s personal — personal to more than half the population of the United States. Nearly 170 million cis women, trans men, and non-binary people are personally affected by the country’s restrictions on abortion. According to the Guttmacher Institute, there were 106 new restrictions on abortion in 19 states this year (Nash). That’s the highest yearly number of new restrictions ever, according to their count. Think about it, 106 new restrictions in just one year. Since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, states have enacted 1,336 restrictions on abortion (Guttmacher Institute). So why are we so surprised that Roe could finally go down once the U.S. Supreme Court announces its decisions on the Mississippi and Texas cases? Anti-abortion activists have been chipping away at Roe from its inception. And make no mistake — all the hand-wringing about a woman’s “very personal decision” doesn’t even begin to address what’s really going on here. As Jenny Brown writes, “Restrictions on abortion and birth control are . . . part of a larger pattern of oppression and exploitation aimed at making our reproductive labor cheap or free” (66). Grieving over the threat to a woman’s “very personal decision” is a distraction. No — it’s a sham, given the fact that what we should really be grieving over is the second-class status of women in this country. Let’s grieve over oppression and exploitation. The big steal! The oppression and exploitation of women has its roots in the evolution of the family, according to Friedrich Engels’ Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State. It’s impossible to summarize his work, but for the purposes of our discussion, he argued that, before “civilization,” when most societies were communally structured, the woman was equal — if not privileged — to the man. “Among all savages and all barbarians . . . the position of women is not only free but honorable,” due in large part to all the labor they contributed to the community and the fact that descent of children could only be recognized as the female line (Engels). But natural selection, economic development which resulted in the concept of property/wealth, and social changes shifted the family structure from groups to loose pairs until by the time the Greek civilization appeared, women’s status (what Engels calls the “mother-right”) had significantly declined. Thus on the one hand, in proportion as wealth increased, it made the man’s position in the family more important than the woman’s, and on the other hand created an impulse to exploit this strengthened position in order to overthrow, in favor of his children, the traditional order of inheritance. This, however, was impossible so long as descent was reckoned according to the mother-right. (Engels) The solution? Overthrow the mother-right and solidify the transition to monogamy to make clear the line of inheritance through the man. The overthrow of mother-right was the world historical defeat of the female sex. The man took command in the home also; the woman was degraded and reduced to servitude, she became the slave of his lust and a mere instrument for the production of children. . . . It is the existence of slavery side by side with…

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Repeal, not reform, U.S. abortion law