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Fascism and Big Business by Daniel Guerin

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New anti-choice moves presented as "health care choice"

No common ground!

With the collusion of the Democratic Party from President Barack Obama on down, abortion opponents succeeded in winning an amendment that introduces one of the biggest attacks on abortion rights since the Hyde Amendment. Adopted shortly after abortion became legal in 1973, the Hyde Amendment outlawed spending federal Medicaid funds on abortion, forcing millions of working-class women to once again bear children against their will or risk dangerous, illegal abortions.

The Stupak Amendment, adopted by the House as part of a health "reform" bill November 7, would ban use of federal funds for abortion in any government-sponsored health insurance and would prevent those receiving federal subsidies from purchasing private insurance policies that include abortion coverage.

The Stupak Amendment should come as no surprise. Antiabortion forces have been winning the battle against those who back women's right to choose abortion for some time now. The rightists got a big boost when Obama called in May for seeking "common ground" with them "to reduce the number of women seeking abortion." Only two weeks later a right-winger in Wichita, Kansas, gunned down Dr. George Tiller, a doctor well-known for carrying out abortions and defending women's right to elect the procedure. No national women's rights organization or trade union has called for the kind of massive mobilizations by women's rights supporters needed to defend abortion since.

Obama says he's not comfortable with the way the Stupak Amendment turned out. But he reiterates that "we're not looking to change what is the principle that has been in place for a very long time, which is federal dollars are not used to subsidize abortions." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she disagrees with the amendment but she was the one who brought it to the floor. Pelosi says she, too, is looking for "common ground" with the enemies of women's rights.

There is no common ground between supporters of abortion rights and the antiabortion forces, any more than there is common ground between fighters for Black rights and lynch mobs.

Now is the time to rebuild a women's movement that will reject "common ground" compromises and subordination of women's demands to the hollow promises of capitalist politicians and fight for women's right to control their own bodies.