It’s Going Down: Lessons From The Fight To Protect Abortion Clinics In The 1990s

June 17, 2022

On this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast, we talk with both long-time anarchist organizer Suzy Subways and historian Spencer Beswick about how anarchists in the 1990s organized in the face of a deadly far-Right attack on abortion access across the so-called United States.

With the growth of both the above ground organization Operation Rescue, which mobilized thousands to shut down abortion clinics and the underground anti-abortion movement which targeted doctors and reproductive health offices with firebombings and assassinations, abortion access was under threat like never before. But while liberals stuck to legalistic attempts to sway the courts, anarchists, utilizing strategies and tactics from groups like Anti-Racist Action, brought a fresh perspective to the struggle and began to mobilize and build coalitions.

During our discussion we cover this history as well as what led to the passing of Roe v Wade; as Beswick argues that it was the creation of a mass, militant movement that centered bodily autonomy and freedom that forced the State to codify limited abortion rights into law. As the supreme court is poised to rule on striking down Roe v Wade, this history, and the lessons and questions that it raises, is needed now more than ever.

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