THE SUPREME COURT gave us abortion rights, and it can take them away. This is the fallacy at the heart of the uproar following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It’s true that the situation is dire. Donald Trump’s nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, will likely join five other anti-abortion ideologues on the Court in permitting states to restrict or ban abortion. Ten states already have laws triggering a ban if the Court permits it.
But we shouldn’t despair. The real power lies with the people, not the Court. The Women’s Liberation Movement raised consciousness, raised hell, and raised the banner for “Free Abortion on Demand” when abortion was illegal in all 50 states and considered criminal by the vast majority of the population. It was their organizing, not a wise and sympathetic bench, that led to the legalization of abortion nationally in 1973 with Roe v. Wade. We can start winning again if we rebuild our movement around the radical principles that forced the court to legalize abortion in the first place.