September 28th: International Day for the decriminalization and legalization of abortion
Around the world, 1424 million of women live in countries where access to legal abortion is somehow restricted. In the most poor and unequal regions, such as Africa and Latin America, women face even bigger limitations for being able to decide over their own bodies, with examples like Nicaragua or El Salvador, where abortion is punishable under every possible cause. The illegal status of abortion is one more measure of a capitalist and patriarchal system that pretends to keep us controlled and submissive to exacerbate our super-exploitation.
However, despite the prohibition, 46 million women annually around the world interrupt their pregnancies due to diverse causes. For that reason, more than 50% of pregnancies worldwide end up in abortion. But due to the criminalization of the practice, 47,000 women die each year because of the consequences related to clandestine abortion practices. Working, poor, young and migrant women are the ones that end up paying with their lives. As a consequence, in most countries where there is no legal abortion, this represents the main cause of death among gestating women. This happens since while big labs and private clinics make profit with expensive illegal practices, imperialistic governments like Donald Trump’s, with the support of the Vatican and other churches, are fixed on controlling and chasing women that pretend to decide on their maternity, condemning them to abortions in the worst possible conditions.
Furthermore, with its double moral standard, the own Catholic Church is the one that defends its pedophile priests, associates itself to genocide governments and opposes contraceptive methods, and is mainly in charge of chasing and stigmatizing women that want to decide over their bodies and condemn them. Such is the chauvinism and persecution to women that, for instance, in El Salvador, a 19-year-old girl called Evelyn Hernández was sentenced to 30 years prison after being raped and suffering a spontaneous miscarriage. Here, with the local government of the Farabundo Martí Front and the misogynistic justice, the Catholic Church was the main institution in charge of condemning socially this victim, in order to lecture the rest of women.
But the attacks on women’s bodies and lives do not only take place in countries where voluntary abortion is not legal, but also, in countries where abortion has been conquered for long decades, with the «progressive» church of Pope Francis trying to hit against this very important right, taking advantage of economic crisis and austerity policies in health, education and social security. Such is the case that in Poland, in 2016, there was a huge attempt of trying to reverse the right of voluntary interruption of pregnancy. The same thing occurred in France and in Italy, with many doctors declaring being conscientious objectors and refusing to perform the practices. However, the mobilization of women was far superior. In the same way that Spanish women in 2014, polish women threatened with a huge strike that put a stop in this new attempt to reduce women’s rights. Moreover, in Chile a huge step was done by regaining the decriminalization of abortion in some cases, which was totally forbidden during Pinochet’s dictatorship.
Today, in a moment in which people in the world are fighting against capitalist cuts and where women are heading the massive marches for #NiUnaMenos, against patriarchal violence and femicides, against discrimination, harassment and work violence, from International Workers’ Unity- Fourth International, we are part of the global shout-out for legal abortion and we call all revolutionary, democratic, feminist, women and workers organizations to be a part of the worldwide struggle day for the decriminalization and legalization of abortion.
This September 28th, let’s be thousands on the streets shouting globally for legal abortion. We demand sexual education to decide, contraceptives not to abort, and legal abortion not to die. Immediate separation of all churches from all states. Capitalist governments are responsible for the situation of women. Enough with austerity plans that plot against life and health of women.
International Workers’ Unity – Fourth International (IWU-FI)
September 12th 2017