Fight back against the regressive Republicans, rabid right-wingers and religious zealots whose “Supreme Coup” stacking the high court with radical conservative Justices led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Sign a petition urging Congress to pass legislation protecting access to abortion, and be sure to vote this November.
Election Day is two months away. We’ve seen the resounding defeat of the Kansas referendum to amend the state constitution and end freedom of choice. We’ve seen Democrat Pat Ryan run on abortion rights to win a special election in a swing district in upstate New York. Now we must turn out in numbers unprecedented for a midterm election to defeat anti-abortionists up and down the ballot.
Trouncing federal and state MAGA candidates endorsed by Trump will fatally wound him as a viable contender for the presidency in 2024. Even if you live in a safe Democratic district, your vote is important to roll up a big national vote total repudiating the Republican Party. It matters, it will be noticed.
One closely-watched contest this fall involves a citizen petition in Michigan to put a referendum on the ballot to enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution. The state election board recently refused to certify the petition for inclusion on the ballot despite its having more than 750,000 signatures, which far exceeded the number required to qualify.
Or I should say, the two Republican members of the board refused to certify it, while the two Democrats voted to certify. Without a fifth tie-breaking member the motion to certify failed. The Republicans claimed that the lettering in the petition was too closely spaced, making its contents unreadable. But the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the question be put on the ballot.
The real issue is not quibbling over the formatting of text. It is that women are having to petition, to publicly plead, for recognition of their fundamental right as human beings to control their own bodies and make medical decisions for themselves. That leaves them vulnerable to the kind of obstructionist tactics we saw in Michigan, and whatever other ploys anti-abortionists can and will come up with.
Across the country, the forces of repression are pushing to pass new laws or revive long-dormant ones to restrict access to abortion or outlaw it altogether, to allow no exceptions for rape or incest, to jeopardize the health and lives of pregnant women, even to criminalize those women and their health care providers.
Beyond defensively fighting legal brush fires as in Michigan, we need to go on the offensive to nullify the entire state legal and regulatory apparatus which forces women to endure an unwanted pregnancy. Yes, we can. The power to do so lies in the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits involuntary servitude (and slavery as well).
I explained this in my August 15 column here in the LA Progressive. I encourage you to read it. In a nutshell it says that forcing a woman to serve as a vessel for gestating a fetus, due to state anti-abortion laws, is “birthing bondage,” a form of involuntary servitude which violates the 13th Amendment. Therefore, state anti-abortion laws are null and void.
We must petition Congress to pass legislation codifying the 13th Amendment so as to leave no doubt that it bans the involuntary servitude of birthing bondage. Such a federal law will nullify state anti-abortion laws. Congress can free women from forced pregnancy by protecting their access to the only escape from that condition: abortion.
You can read such a petition, and then sign it if you choose, at this link. Share it with your family and friends. You can make a difference.
Which brings me back to the election. Introducing a bill to ban birthing bondage will force waffling and dissembling Senators and Congressmen to answer “aye” or “nay” as to whether they support it. It can also be used to make state legislative and gubernatorial candidates go on record as to their position on protecting access to abortion.
Even if the bill does not pass this year, in the face of a likely Republican filibuster in the Senate, it can help change the composition of Congress to make it more likely to pass in the next session. It can become an issue going into the 2024 primaries and general elections, and beyond.
The fight to free women from birthing bondage, to abolish this cruel servitude, must go on.