Letters and Politics

The Political Economy of Abortion and the Fight Over Women’s Work

States with conservative governments are moving quickly in bringing bills to restrict when a woman can have an abortion. Currently there are about 20 cases concerning abortion restrictions in courts across the country and about 300 bills throughout the state legislatures with similar restrictions. Bringing all these cases to the Supreme Court is part of the constitutionality issue at play in the abortion issue. In the end what is at stake with all these cases is to undo the landmark 1973 case Roe v Wade. Usually when we talk about abortion we do it from the cultural and moral perspective, or even from its philosophical perspective of when life truly begins, and when does a woman have the right to control her body.  Rarely do we ever see abortion as an issue related to political economy and a woman’s right to behold her labor in every meaning of the word. Today this is the central topic of our conversation.

Guest: Jenny Brown is an organizer in the national women’s liberation movement and the author of several books on feminism, reproductive rights, and labor. She writes, teaches, and organizes with National Women’s Liberation, a feminist organization of dues-paying women. Her books on feminist include Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight Over Women’s Work, which is directly related to today’s discussion and political controversy, as well as  Without Apology: The Abortion Struggle Now.

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