A message from CDSA’s 2018 Bowletariats Co-Captains, Adriana Scurto and Mimi Stern:
Come to any general membership or branch meeting and it quickly becomes clear – Chicago Democratic Socialists of America is a big tent organization, baby! It’s part of what makes us so strong, part of what reminds us of just how powerful collective unity and solidarity is. Leaving space for differences in opinion creates productive dialogue and solutions we’d never get to if we closed ourselves off to only those who thought exactly as we do. But at the same time, we know that there are values, platforms, and rights that we will staunchly defend, ones that we’re comfortable drawing the line for.
As socialist feminists, one such right is the right to reproductive justice – to free abortion, on demand, without apology. To the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities. A lot of liberals tend to say- yeah, we support the right to choose, but, of course, abortion is _____ (fill in the blank here: hard, bad, a tough choice, a painful choice, fine for you but I personally wouldn’t). Last year, in the wake of the Trump election, we – leftists, along with progressives, liberals, and Democrats alike- got fired up for abortion rights as we saw them being torn down under an administration committed to targeting marginalized people, specifically poor black women and women of color. Perhaps we were naive in thinking this was a turning point, that we could build a coalition. Because since then, Democrat after Democrat have come out as anti-abortion or soft-pro-choice, and they still get the backing from the party. As people committed to reproductive justice, we ask – is this who you want to represent you? Today, we’re stating loudly and clearly that this is not how we do things in DSA. We know that abortion is a part of a large, connected web of healthcare and justice, and we will never back down on throwing ourselves towards the cause of reproductive justice. We’re moving past the world of “rights” and “choice”, and towards one that sees full reproductive autonomy as necessary to the broader issues of economic justice and human rights.
We do not think of abortion as a “necessary evil”. Planned Parenthood doesn’t have to offer breast cancer screening, STI testing, or preventative gynecological care in addition to its abortion services for us to support their right to exist. While we recognize that the decision to have an abortion isn’t always an easy one, we know that doesn’t make abortion inherently bad. We’re here to change the narrative, because we’re tired of our rights to reproductive justice being conditional.
In the DSA, we’ve committed ourselves to working towards a future where everyone has the right to live, and live well, and reproductive justice is a part of that. You may have come here looking for a heartstrings-tugging story of why the two of us care so deeply about access to reproductive healthcare, but you won’t find it today* because you don’t need to know someone who’s had an abortion to stand up for abortion access. You don’t need to be dating someone who might need an abortion to stand up for abortion access. You don’t need to be immediately impacted personally by injustice in this world to care that others are, and to know that, because our struggles are linked, any injustice is worth fighting. We may be “big tent” on a lot of things, but when it comes to unwavering support of access to and de-stigmatization of abortion, we won’t budge.
From now through April 22nd, the CDSA Bowletariats are raising money for the Chicago Abortion Fund to provide financial support to people needing assistance paying for an abortion. Like us, our partners at CAF “boldly affirm a person’s right to choose whether to parent or not and that right should not be determined because of age, race, marital status – and most importantly, economic status.” Yep, you heard right – we’re socialists and we’re literally redistributing wealth. Over the coming weeks, you’ll hear from other bowlers on this year’s team on why they’re bowling for abortion access – and why you should put your money where your tweets are, and donate to the team. We’re just here to help with logistics and provide moral and background support, maybe plan a few dance party fundraisers. We hope you show up, we hope you come out, and we hope you support the Bowletariats this year in building a stronger community and a better world.
Free abortion on demand, no questions asked.
With love and solidarity,
Mimi & Adriana
*don’t worry, there’ll be some of those in posts to come 🙂