ROE-WADE.ANI

Workers World 1/26/95

ON ROE VS. WADE ANNIVERSARY: WOMEN DEFEND ABORTION RIGHTS

By Rachel Nasca
Brookline, Mass.

Boston-area women are focusing energy and resources on plans for 
a Jan. 22 march and rally to defend the 1973 Roe vs. Wade 
decision that legalized abortion. Marchers will gather at 1 p.m. 
at the Boylston T stop.

The Dec. 30-31 clinic shootings in Brookline and in Norfolk, 
Va., brought into sharp focus the fact that it takes more than a 
court decision to guarantee this right for women.

It takes a struggle. And a struggle is under way.

Here in the Boston area, the response to the Dec. 30 clinic 
massacre was swift. Within hours, the Emergency Mobilization 
Against Racism had set up a picket line at Planned Parenthood 
and issued a statement condemning the murders.

Later, over 1,500 participated in a candlelight vigil, march and 
rally organized by women's and reproductive-rights groups.

The next week a community meeting was held in Brookline to plan 
a fight back. Applause met EMAR's Liza Green's suggestion that 
an independent people's inquiry be convened, led by the women's 
movement and other community leaders.

"We should put not only Operation Rescue on trial," she said, 
"but the government for complicity ... from the White House to 
Congress to the Justice Department and the local police." She 
said the whole government and ruling class are guilty of the 
murders of Shannon Lowney and Leanne Nichols.

Clinic "visibilities" were set up. On Jan. 7 in freezing rain, 
hundreds of pro-choice supporters demonstrated at the clinics.

Since the killings, there have been almost constant pro-choice 
rallies and services held in local churches.

Anti-abortion fanatic John Salvi faces federal charges in the 
Brookline murders and the Norfolk shootings. A group of 
pro-choice demonstrators gathered outside his arraignment here 
on Jan. 9.

Anti-abortion leaders including Bernard Cardinal Law say Salvi 
was a lone fanatic with no connection to their self-described 
"legitimate" movement. However, the facts show otherwise.

Meanwhile, there is a chorus of establishment calls for 
"peaceful dialogue" between the "voices of reason on both sides 
of the abortion issue."

On one side is Law, who has called abortion the "primordial evil 
of our time." While he now calls for a temporary moratorium on 
protests at clinics, in fact anti-abortion fanatics are still 
harassing clinic patients and workers.

Self-appointed "champion of women's rights" Gov. William Weld 
also called for the moratorium while demanding the 
women's-rights forces keep quiet. Weld is a GOP presidential 
contender and considered an architect of the new GOP welfare 
plan.

He has said he would be willing to "absorb a $60 million hit" on 
Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Weld would cut 62,921 
children off AFDC in Massachusetts. Another 98,450 would lose 
Medicare coverage.

Already, at least 90,000 children in the state lack any medical 
coverage at all. His plan would deny all benefits to unwed 
mothers under age 18.

MEDIA & COPS VS. WOMEN'S RIGHTS

Since the killings, both major Boston newspapers have become 
virtual mouthpieces for the ultra-right. On Jan. 9 they ran 
pieces by William F. Buckley and Operation Rescue founder 
Randall Terry.

An earlier Globe article about Salvi was filled with anti-gay 
innuendo.

The police, of course, keep aiding and abetting the right wing, 
too.  And anti-abortion forces continue to freely issue threats 
and incite to violence.

Anti-abortion forces held a rally in a Beacon Street church a 
few days after the shootings. Local police provided security for 
the event and kept pro-choicers out.

CARRY THE FIGHT FORWARD

As both clinics reopened in mid-January, workers returned to the 
front lines, demonstrating anew their determination to provide 
health-care services to women--and their bravery.

The Preterm Clinic reports that it has received countless calls 
from volunteers. At Planned Parenthood, a courageous woman 
offered to take up Shannon Lowney's tasks.

Weld, Law and others have been shameless in their effort to 
intimidate and influence the pro-choice movement. The pressure 
the movement is under is reflected in tactical differences about 
how to fight back.

Some have attempted to narrow the issue and "cool down the 
situation." But more militant forces have sought to broaden the 
struggle and called for the movement to take to the streets.

Lisbeth Melendez, a Latina lesbian in Boston, is vice president 
of Steel Workers Local 9267 and spokesperson for the National 
Peoples Action Campaign. She says: "These murders constituted 
the most recent attack in the government's war against women.

"Whether it's immigrant bashing, racist violence and police 
brutality, plant closings and layoffs, attacks on our 
communities, on welfare, on gay and lesbian rights, or on 
reproductive rights--we must fight on all fronts."

She called for everyone to come out on Jan. 22 and join the NPAC 
contingent at the pro-choice march. The campaign can be reached 
in Boston at (617) 522-6626.

But it can't stop there, Melendez says. The organizing must 
continue to build a movement to end the war against women and 
create a just society free of racism, sexism and lesbian/gay 
oppression--a society where the John Salvis and the Newt 
Gingriches will be but a horrific memory.

On one side is Law, who has called abortion the "primordial evil 
of our time." While he now calls for a temporary

[Original post was truncated here -ch]

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