Thursday, June 30, 2022
Editor's Note: The African American Policy Forum published an important statement on the Dobbs decision. The links included are worth viewing. The Support local abortion funds link includes a list of abortion facilities nationwide in need of support. The statement is legally important but equally critical because it calls on us to untie rather than despair.
The statement reads:
Today, an illegitimate Supreme Court—stacked with radical conservative justices who lied to Congress about their adherence to the precedents confirming our civil and reproductive rights—advanced their plan to undermine the right to equal protection under the law and the right to bodily autonomy.
To say we are outraged by the immoral and constitutionally questionable opinions from the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Services is an understatement. Make no mistake: to rip vital abortion care out of the hands of millions of Americans who may need it is a devastating act of political violence. It will also be disproportionately lethal to Black and poor women who now will lose their already-limited access to abortions.
“We have barely emerged from a week of commemoration of emancipation in which the legacy of coerced pregnancy that was the foundation of enslavement and the source of the profits in the slave trade has yet to be addressed. The consequence of our society’s failure to see coerced pregnancy as a legacy of enslavement has descended once again upon Black women and all pregnant people with lethal force. Had the project of liberation from enslavement been rooted in this recognition, then coerced childbirth would have been prohibited as a foundational principle of freedom. The incompleteness of our conceptions of liberty thus harken back to the unspeakable past and stretch forward into this painful moment, proving once again that the intersections of patriarchy, racism, and heteronormativity will continue to undermine the freedoms that we all take for granted unless we learn how to address them simultaneously. Our response must not be siloed to a problem that is historically and continuously interconnected."
– Kimberlé Crenshaw, AAPF Executive Director.
In his concurrence, Justice Clarence Thomas telegraphed what those in the movement already knew: the Supreme Court will not just stop at overturning Roe v. Wade. They are going to come after every legally settled right and precedent previously set by the Supreme Court that protects marginalized Americans. They will take away the right to access contraception. They will take away the right to protections from workplace harassment for LGBTQ+ Americans and the right to gay marriage.
To fight back we must avoid the mountains of recrimination in the days that will seek to blame one constituency, condition, or individual for this moment. To see the scale of this threat clearly—and to meet it with a single unified movement for intersectional justice and equity—we must understand that this is the outcome of a sustained ideological initiative on the right to unravel core democratic freedoms—racial equity, gender justice, and individual liberty—all in one intellectual, judicial, and political revolution.
Every time we have collectively failed to see how the fabric of our collective existence is tied to the protections of our freedoms has been a moment that has contributed to this profound loss. The reality is that this attack on our body politic has metastasized over a generation, leading to the current state of minority tyranny of the will of the majority of voters. The upshot is that this undemocratic, unelected body has aligned itself with a radical right agenda that is driving us to the brink of autocracy.
No unelected body should have the power to strip people of their human right to autonomy, especially an institution as plagued by controversy, illegitimacy, and naked partisanship as the United States Supreme Court. When we demand bodily autonomy, we do not just mean over our reproductive organs—we mean autonomy from the violence of the state and extrajudicial killings by the police; we mean autonomy over our gender and our sexual experiences; we mean autonomy over our families and the right to raise our children in safe and supported communities.
We at AAPF strongly believe that the post-slavery amendments to our Constitution gave us the guiding principles to achieve our aspirations for a multiracial society, free from the illiberties, coercion, and violence that characterized our first founding. It is the vision of these, the second founders—the men and women who fought for freedom and who loosened the grip of enslavement and tyranny—that must guide us in the coming years.
The struggle ahead of us will be one of the most difficult we have faced as a nation. We are committed to this fight, and we hope you will be there with us.