Abortion Justice & Medicare For All

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The following are remarks by Asheville DSA co-chair Tessa, delivered at the Asheville Speak-Out for Reproductive Freedom on Monday, Sept. 6th.

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We are gathered here today because there is a war being wagedthis war on reproductive rights was waged against women, against trans and non-binary people, against Black and brown people, indigenous people, queer people, and against disabled, displaced, and abused people. ALL of us deserve safe and easy access to abortion.

This is a war being waged against our bodies, our reproductive rights, against our freedom.

But let’s be VERY clear about something, what is at the very root of this war. If you have lots of money in this country, with our crooked health care system, you can buy access to anything you want — including abortion.

So really, this war has always been a war waged against the poor.

A war on the multiracial working class.

The wealthy want to make abortion illegal because it keeps the poor unstable, overwhelmed, and willing to accept the poorest of working conditions and social conditions. It gives them more poor workers that will fight one another for scraps in order to survive. If the working class remains divided and oppressed, it is easier for the wealthy elite to stay in control and manipulate the masses.

The powerful want to use the issue of abortion as a wedge to divide the multiracial working class, to turn us against each another, to distract from exploitation, oppression, and creeping fascism.

We cannot separate this war on reproductive rights from the war on voting rights, on fair wages, and workplace democracy.

What does pro-choice even mean? Choice is a luxury. You don’t have a choice if you can’t afford reproductive care.

If you can’t afford family planning.

And if you can’t afford an abortion.

We are not here to simply say that women should have a choice to have an abortion.

As if we were shopping in a supermarket aisle.

We are here to demand health justice. Reproductive Justice. Abortion Justice.

That means that family planning, reproductive care, and abortions should not just be legal. They should be free. Reproductive justice means having the right to decide when and if you want to have children. A right that many Black, migrant, and poor women have had taken from them in this country — throughout US history and, disturbingly enough, very recently in this country too — through forced sterilization, forced childbirth and rearing of enslaved people, and through poverty wages that leave people with no safe options.

That’s why if we want real justice for ALL of us — we need universal healthcare. We need Medicare For All.

Medicare For All would end the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal dollars from being spent on abortions.

It’s the Hyde Amendment, and the hollowing out of working class families, that makes abortion services so hard to find here in North Carolina and across the country. The money just isn’t there.

Medicare For All would mean no insurance needed, no out of pocket costs, no co-pays, and no bills for abortion and any other necessary services that require a professional.

It would also, by the way, mean free gender affirming care for ALL.

So we need to fight for health justice for the working class.

But right now, CVS is spending millions of dollars in dark money to try to defeat Medicare For All.

HCA, the company that owns Mission Hospital, is spending millions of dollars in dark money to try to defeat Medicare For All — To make sure that we don’t get health justice.

Here’s the thing.

If we simply fight for Roe V. Wade — for a hollow, elitist idea of CHOICE — we are going to lose.

They will divide wealthy women against poor women, white women against women of color.

But if we fight for democracy, if we fight for power, if we fight for Medicare For All and health justice, and abortion justice, if we build a movement of the multigenerational, multi-gender, multiracial working class, we will defend Roe V Wade, but we will do so much more.

IF you believe that this is a war on women, AND a war on the multiraicial poor, AND a war on the multiracial working class, you need to pledge today that you will fight not just for choice, but for Medicare for All! For health justice, reproductive justice and abortion JUSTICE!

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Asheville Democratic Socialists of America