The Anti-Abortion Movement is Anti-Democracy

| Reproaction

By: Evonnia Woods

Big ‘Pro-Life’ strategies and tactics are cruel and violent because their mission is steeped in white patriarchal supremacy, an ideological stance that promotes the oppression of racial minorities and women. [1] However, it ends up negatively impacting all humanity (directly and indirectly), as it can only be upheld through anti-democratic practices, because democracy and white supremacy cannot coexist. [2,3]

With blinders on and no consideration for side effects, the anti-abortion movement’s agenda reflects a narrow and dangerous approach where the end always justifies the means. Their conflation of gender and sex in their understanding of ‘woman/women,’ outdated perpetuation of gender roles, and utter disregard for how power and cultural dynamics ensure that poor Black women and other women of color suffer most from abortion restrictions has been well documented. [4] The presence of prominent anti-abortion advocates at the insurrection at the Capitol in Washington D.C. on January 6 is just another example, in a long line of examples, of how the anti-abortion movement threatens everyone’s freedom and autonomy. [5]

Though mainstream media does not usually include the anti-abortion movement in discussions about extremist right wing groups, reproductive rights advocates and scholars have long understood the relationship as inextricably tied. To us, the tactics displayed at the insurrection looked eerily familiar because the anti-abortion movement has been implementing them for decades. The anti-abortion movement and other right-wing factions formed an alliance and stormed the U.S. Capitol through their shared susceptibility to conspiracy theories, fear of demographic decline that translates into a loss of divine supremacy, disregard for science and facts, penchant for harassment that often looks like death threats, and their histories of violence – from policies to bombs to murder. [6, 7, 8]

The willingness of the anti-abortion movement to disregard democratic principles is not limited to the United States. The United States’ foreign policy on abortion under Republican leadership aligns the U.S. closely with authoritarian governments and alienates the country from democratic nations. In other words, anti-abortion policies have the potential of eroding democracy globally. [9, 10, 11] Without legal and safe abortion access, gender equality becomes unobtainable which guarantees human rights violations. [12]

The anti-abortion movement must continue to be exposed for what it is: foot soldiers behind an agenda that cannot be accomplished in a democracy or without bloodshed. As we continue to call them out at every turn, we are urging everyone to consider their impact on our democracy. Refuse to tolerate anti-abortion views, and for the sake of our democracy, and democracies around the world, be clear that coddling them is not an effective strategy to gain support for other democratic advances.

[1] Leão, Gabriel. Aug 20, 2019. “Understanding the rage of white male supremacy: An interview with Lisa Wade, PhD,” WMC Women Under Siege.

[2] Walker, Darren. Jan 7, 2021. “Democracy is a threat to white supremacy—and that is the cause of America’s crisis,” Equals Change Blog.

[3] Blow, Charles. Jan 10, 2021. “Charles Blow on the greatest threat to our democracy: White supremacy,” CBS News.

[4] Cohen, Susan A. Aug 6, 2008. “Abortion and Women of Color: The Bigger Picture,” Guttmacher Policy Review, Vol. 11 Issue 3.

[5] Sherman, Carter. Jan 12, 2021. “Anti-Abortion Activists Were All Over the Capitol Riots,” Vice News.

[6] Campoamor, Danielle. Jan 13, 2021. “Violent pro-Trump rioters used the tactics of anti-abortion protesters at the Capitol. We should’ve seen this coming,” Independent.

[7] Bader, Eleanor J. Feb. 3, 2021. “Anti-Abortion, Pro-Insurrection,” The Progressive.

[8] Quart, Alissa. Feb. 4, 2021. “Before the Capitol Attack, There Were the Abortion Wars,” Slate.

[9] Borger, Julian. Oct 22, 2020. “US signs anti-abortion declaration with group of largely authoritarian governments,” The Guardian.

[10] Suliman, Adela. Oct 23, 2020. “U.S. joins global anti-abortion pact as Polish women march to protest clampdown,” NBC News.

[11] Bhalla, Nita. Nov 3, 2020. “Kenyan charities urge government to quit U.S.-led anti-abortion pact,” Reuters.

[12] United Nations Human Rights Office of the Commissioner. “​​​​​Women’s Human Rights and Gender Equality.”,the%20responsibility%20of%20all%20States

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