We can’t wait another lifetime to win reproductive rights!

Helen Gilbert speaks for Radical Women at Stop the Bans Rally in Seattle.
Helen Gilbert speaks for Radical Women at Stop the Bans Rally in Seattle. Photo by Elliot Stoller.
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Radical Women in numerous cities joined thousands of feminists across the U.S. in coming out May 21 to denounce the outrageous attacks on legal abortion being enacted in Alabama, Georgia, and dozens of other states. National Organizer Helen Gilbert spoke at the Seattle event (see text of her speech below). Please contact Radical Women with your ideas for how we can work together to build a militant, multi-issue offensive to roll back attacks on reproductive freedom and other targets of the right wing. Let us know if you would be like to be part of a developing national network of grassroots abortion rights defenders.

Contact Radical Women at RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com or call 206-985-4621.

I’m Helen Gilbert, the National Organizer for Radical Women.
Radical Women has been fighting for reproductive rights since our founding. We’re proud that our earliest members worked with Black women from the anti-poverty program to hold one of Washington’s first rallies for legal abortion at the state capitol in Olympia. We’re proud that Radical Women members have confronted the fetus fetishists in clinic defense in Seattle, Los Angeles, New York City, Melbourne, Australia, and elsewhere. We need to step up clinic defense now because the abortion bans are going to make the anti-choicers even more aggressive.
We need to be just as aggressive in defending women’s lives. The religious right is not just about stopping abortion but controlling every aspect of women’s lives. We need to stand for and with those most under attack: Black and Native American women who are at highest risk of death in childbirth and infant mortality. We need to fight with a multi-issue focus knowing that reproductive justice has to include free abortion on demand, affordable childcare, no forced sterilization, healthcare and housing for all, and an end to the racist prison pipeline that separates families just as much as ICE does. To keep abortion legal, we need a militant, feminist movement that’s out in the streets with all communities under attack. We need to call on our unions to defend the rights of their members. We need to show how assaults on legal abortion are just the beginning of the reactionary agenda of the Trump regime and the far-right.
Since Roe v Wade was won, we’ve spent a lifetime trying to hold on to our rights. We’ve been told to pin our hopes on one more candidate, one more sympathetic judge. Meanwhile, we’ve lost more and more ground. This incremental fight isn’t working.
We can’t spend another lifetime to win women’s right to control our own bodies. We can’t spend another lifetime trying to stop racist and anti-trans violence and deadly U.S. wars that victimize women and children all over the world. As we mobilize for abortion rights and reproductive justice, we need to build a movement to overthrow this whole, woman-hating racist capitalist system.
We can’t take another lifetime to win a socialist world, where human rights and environmental sanity are the highest values. Let’s build the reproductive justice fight into a mass movement that challenges patriarchal capitalism at every level. That’s the only way to be sure that the rights we fight for today will still exist tomorrow.


For video of the speech, click here.

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