September 4, 2021 5:29 pm
As this statement was being prepared, a Texas state judge issued a stay temporarily blocking an anti-abortion group from enforcing SB 8 against Planned Parenthood, giving some relief to health care providers and abortion rights advocates.
The Supreme Court put its stamp of approval on the Texas Senate Bill 8 and demonstrated its unwillingness to protect the rights of women late Wednesday evening when they voted 5 to 4 allowing the Texas “heartbeat bill” to go into effect. Purposefully written with obfuscatory procedures and language designed to circumvent Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court relinquished its duty to uphold the legal right to abortion by allowing this bill to go into effect in the state of Texas.
It is now illegal in the state of Texas for women to get abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Most are not even aware of pregnancy in that time frame. For all intents and purposes, this bill criminalizes not only those who get abortions, but anyone who is considered to have “aided and abetted” the abortion process. This is an unprecedented gift to the evangelical anti-abortion vigilantes. The Texas bill awards any private citizen a bounty of $10,000 for successfully snitching on those “assisting” and/or seeking their legal right to reproductive health care.
This comes after yet another egregious decision a week earlier, where the Supreme Court voted to end the CDC’s moratorium on evictions. This creates an onslaught of people who will surely face eviction due to the federal government’s incompetence in providing adequate relief and care during the COVID-19 pandemic-induced economic crisis. It is crystal clear on which side the Supreme Court lies — the side of the reactionary and ultra-rich.
The legacy of the Trump administration remains with a majority conservative Supreme Court. All members appointed under Trump: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett are anti-abortion and, given the chance, will overturn Roe v. Wade. What the Supreme Court has insidiously done is sanction a blueprint to gradually take down Roe v. Wade, state by state. This will affect many of the southern states, governed by conservative, far-right evangelical politicians. Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Florida and Missouri are among the states anticipated to challenge reproductive rights through similar “heartbeat” bills. But the loophole created by the Texas Legislature and sanctioned by the Supreme Court will undoubtedly be used across the country to empower private vigilantes to target abortion providers, people seeking abortions, and those who support them.
These attacks on reproductive rights not only endanger the lives of women but will disproportionately affect poor and working class women of color. Many abortion providers offer some of the only affordable health care services that poor Black and Brown people can access. SB 8 will severely limit, if not eliminate, basic and necessary services such as checkups, contraceptives, tests for sexually transmitted diseases, and routine cancer screening. This law will not only impact transgender men but transgender people, as many of these same clinics provide gender confirming health care such as hormone therapy. The enforcement of this bill could drag these providers through costly legal battles, intimidating and forcing clinics to close. This blatant attack is rooted in patriarchy and capitalist bigotry, and is without a doubt an attack on the entire working class. A united fight back grounded in solidarity demanding the full legalization of abortion is critically needed at this moment.
The fight for reproductive rights is far from over. The mainstream Democratic Party has uttered faint disappointment for what ensued on Wednesday evening. President Biden issued a statement saying that he will look into what measures the “Federal Government can take to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions as protected by Roe.” With full control of all parts of the government, the Democrats could, in fact, pass legislation to fully legalize abortion. The ruling of Roe v. Wade was a right won by a militant women’s movement, and every day since, right-wing politicians have striven to dismantle this hard-won right. We can and must build a mass grassroots campaign that mounts pressures on the government to legalize and expand abortion access once and for all.
Nearly 14,000 Haitian asylum seekers are being targeted for deportation by the Biden administration after sheltering in a makeshift camp at the U.S.-Mexico border. Large numbers of these migrants are women and children for whom life in Haiti is especially dangerous right now due to ongoing crises and poverty-spawned violence. This is the largest mass expulsion of migrants and refugees in decades.
Just last month, Haiti experienced a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that took the lives of thousands and injured many more, leaving the capital of Port-au-Prince and surrounding cities and towns with food and housing shortages amid the destruction. These cataclymsic impacts come after months of political turmoil that both preceded and followed the assassination of former president-turned-dictator Jovenel Moise back in July. For years, if not decades, the nation’s infrastructure has struggled under the pressure of financial embezzlement and lack of social investment for Haiti’s majority poor population by corrupt misleaders.
The Biden administration is relying on Title 42, which uses COVID-19 as an excuse to not interview asylum seekers, in order to mass-deport Haitians. UN officials have challenged this action, calling this a violation of international law. On September 22 U.S. Special Envoy To Haiti Daniel Foote resigned, saying he will not be associated with the U.S.’s “inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees.”
Biden could offer protected status to all Haitian refugees today. Instead, he allows Haitian women and children to be brutalized by border patrol agents, and families to be ejected into the middle of a crisis. In many cases, Biden’s immigration policies are more cruel than those of Trump. Within weeks of taking office, Biden deported more Haitians than Trump did in a whole year. Despite the conditions in Haiti right now, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris continue to tell Haitian immigrants to not come to the United States.
The horrifying images of Texan border patrol agents on horses whipping Haitian asylum seekers of all ages are reminiscent of images of enslaved Africans being brutalized by slave masters. They should remind us that the racist system that has historically propped up and enforced anti-Black racism is still deeply entrenched in all facets of U.S. law enforcement and governance.
They should similarly remind us of the struggle that Haitians have faced since successfully waging the Revolution of 1804 that toppled slavery and created the first free Black republic in the world. Since this victory, the imperial powers, notably the United States, have served to create the very conditions that have forced Haitians to flee to the U.S. for refuge. The constant cycle of intervention, propping up of misleaders and dictators (like former president Jovenel Moise), and the blatant exploitation of Haitian labor by U.S. imperialism has created a situation in which families have no choice but to seek refuge.
In many cases, the so-called “aid” that the UN, the U.S., and the international NGO sector has provided to Haiti amidst these numerous crises has only served to make matters worse. Countless instances of sexual abuse against Haitian women and children, or the “loss” of $500 million intended for post-2010 earthquake housing illustrate just that.
It is time the centuries of abuse of Haitians by the United States and its cronies comes to an end. The safety and security of Haitians should not be at the whim of U.S. foreign policy and intervention. We must fight the cruel and inhumane immigration policies under Biden with the same energy we fought them under Trump (and Obama), and we must fight the hand that creates the conditions in Haiti forcing families to flee in refuge in the first place.
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Across the world education has been a critical factor in overcoming the oppression of women, and a centerpiece of revolutionary action. Education serves a particular purpose in class society, especially in the capitalist United States. It has always had liberatory and revolutionary potential for oppressed people. “Education to Liberation,” examines: the tension between the conformist pro-capitalist purpose and the liberatory potential of education; how women have gained access to education; and the role women have played in the sphere of education itself.
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