Erasing Roe: The Dobbs Decision, Sectional Warfare and the Women's Revolution to Come
The June 24, Supreme Court (6-3) ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson ending forty-nine years of women's abortion rights marked an unprecedented escalation in American Empire's war on women.
New Black Nationalists foresee the political blowback and hardships imposed by Dobbs accelerating social chaos and disintegration in an already fractured polity. Reversing Roe will do so in ways not yet imagined, and on a scale previously unseen.
Cultural conservatives and the hard right will rue the day when the massive over-reach of the Dobbs decision to punish women and put them in their place vis-a-vis the heteropatriarchal order of things, became the proverbial law of the land.
As we go to print, on Saturday state police tear-gassed pro-choice demonstrators at Arizona's state capitol. The Longmont, Colorado Life Choices Center was set on fire and a pick-up truck drove through a pro-choice rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, knocking people to the ground. Such is the beginning of the war between the sections.
The fight for women's abortion rights and bodily autonomy has shifted to a new battlespace--one that is divided between Handmaid Red-States, Abortion Rights Blue States and Contested Purple States that could go either way.
Dobbs didn't simply refer abortion rights back to the states to decide. The ruling triggered an immediate ban of abortion services in eight red states, with five more red states scheduled to ban abortions in the next 30-days. Another eight red states will likely institute more prohibitive abortion bans in the near future.
Pro-choice forces are in transition, creating overt and covert logistical hubs to establish Abortion Underground Railroads. Planning centers are springing up overnight to safely transport women to Abortion Rights Blue States for procedures and services. New countermeasures to combat Handmaid laws, security surveillance, and efforts to block access to online abortion pills are in full swing.
In the South, Dobbs has placed the most restrictive anti-abortion laws on the books. In 2022, Black women are averaging 785 abortions per day, most of them in the Southern states. One must ask the Black Church and Historical Black Colleges, what role will they play in the emerging crisis? As the two strongest resourced institutions with intimate connections to the Black Commons, Black churches and HBCU's need to respond by getting into the moment.
We need Black womanists and Black feminists to provide us with their best thinking and guidance. We need organizations like the National Black Women for Reproductive Justice to play a vanguard role in the period ahead.
Dobbs will go into effect with several states providing no exceptions for incest or rape. Under the ruling, women admitted to emergency rooms for a miscarriage may be subjected to criminal investigation.
In these extraordinary circumstances abortion rights activists cannot wait on the Democratic Party and the November elections? Democrats don't have a plan. They never bothered to develop one, despite knowing the Supreme Court's high conservative Catholic conclave was going to pull the trigger on Roe.
Instead of Biden authorizing federal lands to house abortions service facilities or provide travel funds and stipends for lower-income women to access abortion services, he was out bike riding last week and tumbled off his ten-speed. Democrats can only reverse Dobbs by expanding the Supreme Court, something Biden opposes, and the Party is too servile to contemplate. Black women are especially vulnerable to attack in the new post-Dobbs environment.
In Abortion Rights Blue States, pro-choice organizations are straining to expand existing abortion service options to accommodate the demand from women in restricted Handmaid "red states." They are currently overwhelmed by demand. At the same time pro-choice activists are revising strategies to fortify existing abortion rights laws and creating new legislation to meet future challenges imposed by Dobbs.
Contested Purple States like Michigan, Kansas, Virginia, and Montana evoke memories in some respects of the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act, where the territories' settlers would decide the issue of slavery. These states will become critical battlegrounds in the Abortion Wars. Resources, human and financial are going to be surged into these states by anti-abortion and pro-abortion forces to move the needle.
With so many young people entering the fray, training them as organizers over the summer to turn college campuses into powerful resource centers, and voting recruitment stations holds great possibility. Every college campus should be convening teach-ins for its students when fall semesters commence in August to advise students on what the Dobbs decision means for them. Campuses can also play a critical mass education role taking on research and advocacy of the next frontiers of the Abortion Wars like Fetal Personhood.
It is the immediate, totalizing, and draconian nature of the Dobbs ruling that has placed the fight over abortion rights on a war footing. For two centuries women fought to liberate themselves from being the exclusive property of men. Dobbs now threatens pregnant women seeking an abortion in "Handmaid states" with criminalization, state capture of their bodies, and targeting for invasive surveillance.
For decades, women struggled to win their rights as fully vested citizens in the estate of the republic. Dobbs is a grim reminder that women's citizenship, much like the Black Commons is no more than provisional.
As attorney Elie Mystal pointed out, "The issue at the heart of the case was a ban in Mississippi on abortions after 15 weeks of gestation. The conservative majority could have simply upheld the 15-week ban. Instead, they eviscerated the entire constitutional framework making abortion legal and revoked the right to bodily autonomy."
Instead, Justice Alito and his five hard-right ideologues did more than reverse Roe and Casey, they humiliated and dehumanized women as mere human incubators pre-destined to fulfill biological reproductive functions inspired by divine providence.
Dobbs took a sledgehammer to women's privacy and due process rights. It smashed them to smithereens not with a legal argument, but with a Christian fundamentalist interpretation of conception in a secular state. It was a brutal display of masculinist heteropatriarchal arrogance.
As Ty Ross, of Occupy Democrats noted in a recent article, "Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, the enabler of the two worst SCOTUS evils, dug deep in his decision to overturn Roe v. Wade — 17th century deep. Alito cited jurist and marital rape supporter Sir Matthew Hale, who under his jurisdiction also saw two women executed for witchcraft. In the draft opinion, Alito highlights the centuries-long-dead jurist’s position on both rape and witchcraft in defense of his SCOTUS reasoning."
Abortion rights in this country are grounded in the 5th and 14th amendments’ right to due process. Alito contends the people who wrote those amendments did not think they were conferring upon women a right to bodily autonomy.
In the dissenting opinion on Dobbs, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan gave the following response to Alito's charge, "But, of course, ‘people’ did not ratify the Fourteenth Amendment. Men did. So it is perhaps not so surprising that the ratifiers were not perfectly attuned to the importance of reproductive rights for women’s liberty, or for their capacity to participate as equal members of our Nation.”
As Elie Mystal said, "Alito says, quite rightly, that the people who wrote those amendments did not think they were conferring upon women a right to bodily autonomy. For Alito and the conservative majority, that is enough: If dead white men didn’t grant it, we can’t have it...Conservatives (regardless of what party they happen to belong to) think that the 14th Amendment can only do what the white men who wrote it and ratified it thought it could do."
If necessity is still the mother of invention, New Black Nationalists believe Dobb's vicious attack to eviscerate women's reproductive rights, is already forcing women and all abortion rights supporters to act anew and with a profound sense of urgency. New thinking, new organizing methods, new interactive tools, new legislation, and new blood are being infused into the movement.
For those white feminists who've been absent from the frontlines, complacent or perhaps in denial about the hard right and Christian Nationalists resolve to outlaw abortion in its entirety, they now have their shot to renew their credentials as forward- leaning change agents. After 50 years of activism, white feminists failed to persuade fifty percent of white women not to vote for Trump--a cereal adulterer, groper, and purveyor of women of easy virtue, who packed the Supreme Court with pro-life urchins.
For hard-right conservatives, Republicans and white nationalists, the Dodd reversal of women's reproductive rights codified by Roe and Casey represents a half-century of hard-fought industry. Agitation, propaganda, creating 501-C-3s and PACS, demonstrations, intimidating and terrorizing women at reproductive clinics, torching and firebombing Planned Parenthood centers, and shooting women at abortion facilities: they did it all to get to June 24, 2022.
An elated Republican Congresswoman cretin Mary Miller said on Saturday, "President Trump, on behalf of all the MAGA patriots in America, I want to thank you for the historic victory for white life in the Supreme Court yesterday.” As we point out in our article on Replacement Theory like most white nationalist cretins, she is oblivious to the reality that Dobbs is going to double the rate of Black, Hispanic, and Asian new child births over whites. Dobbs is going to exponentially speed up the timetable that America's settler state will become a majority Black, brown, and yellow country.
Nor does she have any idea of the fury Dobbs is going to unleash among the majority of women and men. Dobbs will prove to be a pyric and short-lived victory that has only brought the collapse of American Empire that much closer, but we have work to do.