The Fight For Reproductive Freedom Is Happening Right Now

The Fight For Reproductive Freedom Is Happening Right Now

Women’s rights are under attack from far-right organizations and the federal, state, and local politicians that they support. Last year, Alabama’s state legislature attempted to ban nearly all abortions—even in the case of incest or rape—and the Supreme Court is considering a case that could effectively prevent the majority of abortion providers from meeting the needs of their patients.

The right-wing assault on the right to choose is escalating, with low-income women and women of color on the front lines. For women who can afford it, care may still be within reach. But with all matters of justice, justice for the few is not justice at all.

In six states, access to reproductive care has become so restricted that only one clinic remains. And even where health clinics are technically available, the cost of care often makes services inaccessible. Long work hours at low wages prevent women from taking the necessary time off to get to medical appointments, and the dwindling number of providers means that women are often forced to travel long distances to reach an abortion provider—incurring costs for transportation, lodging, and childcare in the process.

It is crucial that we protect Roe v. Wade by codifying it into law. But true reproductive freedom requires that we go further. If workers reliant on employer-based health insurance find that their insurance excludes reproductive health care, then there is no reproductive freedom or justice. If women can’t access prenatal care, there is no reproductive freedom or justice. And if after giving birth to a healthy child, that child is subsequently poisoned by lead-tainted water, there is no reproductive freedom or justice.

Reproductive freedoms and justice are fundamental to gender equality, and Americans deserve a president who they can trust to protect both the constitutional right to abortion, and the economic freedom to exercize that right. I believe I am that candidate.

I am proud to say that my record of defending reproductive freedoms pre-dates Roe v. Wade. In 1972—decades before it was popular or politically convenient—I was quoted by the Vermont press saying that “[i]t strikes me as incredible that politicians think they have the right to tell a woman what she can or cannot do with her body.” I am the only major candidate in the race who has consistently voted against the Hyde Amendment—the legislation that aims to gut federal funding for abortion services, including Planned Parenthood—and I am proud to have a 100 percent pro-choice voting record from NARAL Pro-Choice American and Planned Parenthood.

Joe Biden, regretfully, has a different record. Just after Roe was decided, Joe Biden believed the Supreme Court decision “went too far,” saying: “I don’t think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body.” As vice president, Biden worked to cut mandated coverage for contraception from Obamacare, and he supported the Hyde Amendment until last June, when his run for president brought fresh scrutiny to his long-held position.

I believe that the best way to judge a person is by their record. And when it comes to Supreme Court nominations, a candidate’s record gives the best indication of the type of Justice a president would nominate. As President, I would never nominate a federal judge, including any Supreme Court justices, who did not 100% support a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.

I am also enormously proud of the plans put forward by this campaign. I have recently released a comprehensive plan to bring universal and affordable contraception and reproductive health care—from fertility treatments, to STI screenings, to abortion care—to every woman in this country. And our Medicare for All plan contains provisions specifically designed to finally bring an end to the crisis of maternal mortality in communities of color, particularly Black communities, across the country.

The freedom to control your own body is a fundamental, inalienable right. And yet, politicians on both sides of the aisle have failed to stand up to protect this freedom. I stood with women to protect that freedom in 1972, and in 2020, my position is unchanged. It’s the same place I’ve stood for the last 50 years—with you.

Bernie Sanders is a Senator from Vermont and a Democratic candidate in the 2020 presidential election.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

If I can have the hubris to pretend I’m actually going to be heard. I think you should examine why women are, in greater numbers, voting against you than for you. It’s not Biden’s history with Hyde either.

The top reason for me is Bernie Bros, or shall we instead call them the dirt-bag left. I can give you a ton of excuses on this, like you don’t control your supporters, that they aren’t the whole of your support, and so on, but at the end of the day the buck stops with you. The end of the day your campaign has willingingly got in bed with some sexist trolls, Rogan, Chapo, Cenk Uygur, staffers you’d had to fire, the way your campaign treated Warren and so on. I getting fucking pissed at politics all the time, and I have a fairly big tolerance for vulgar, profane, and blunt political speech. But, much of what people have done in your name is sexist, homophobic, dangerous, violent, and repulsive. I have not been impressed with your denouncing of them. You haven’t done enough.

Maybe, I’m the first to admit that I have bias, but when last night, I saw Joe Biden commit to a female vp, and saw your face, and your stumbling reaction, I got the feeling you were politically weighing losing your sexist vote before you gave your fumbling answer.

Then, I’d like to discuss this ‘Establishment” argument of yours. Every time you bash the establishment, you bash the base of the Democratic Party, and I’m sick of hearing it. I’ve been a registered Democrat who has voted in every single election since turning 18, 25 years ago. I’ve volunteered boots on the ground in most elections, for the party rather than a candidate. I’ve only split my ticket once, to vote for a county exec, who not only was the father of a friend, but his unfortunate rival “wanted to feed the bitch pork,” without offering any substance.

When you bash this “Establishment” you bash me, you bash the women, the lgbtq+, the disabled, and the people of color I have worked in the trenches with. The people I still advocate and work in the trenches with. Biden was never my first choice, you were never my last. Biden has been in these trenches. Not perfectly, but then you haven’t been perfect either, have you? In the end, you were never in these trenches with me.

Now back on that purity of record. As a long-time disability rights advocate, you’ve had to come a long way since 2016 with us, haven’t you? I’m glad you’ve learned and shifted, which is what we want our politicians to do. We’ve clawed tooth and nail to carve out what little social justice we have, and sometimes, equality isn’t enough when the scales are so tipped to the disadvantage of marginalized citizens. I’ve long thought that the idea of a rising tide lifts all boats is inadequate, because it doesn’t knock down the legacy of the structural barriers that marginalized groups have faced.

That’s why you never won this college educated, disabled, impoverished, single mom, pro- choice, white woman.