Spencer Beswick: “We’re Pro-Choice And We Riot!” – How Anarcha-Feminists Built Dual Power In Struggles For Reproductive Freedom

It’s Going Down | May 19, 2022

A historical look at how anarchists in the 1990s mobilized against attacks on reproductive freedom and autonomy by taking direct action and building autonomous infrastructure.

As the Supreme Court prepares to reverse Roe v. Wade under a Democratic president, house, and senate, it is clear that action at the ballot box is insufficient to protect abortion. Reproductive rights were not won by electoral means, and that is not how we will defend them.

Anarcha-feminist traditions of grassroots struggle and autonomous abortion infrastructure offer alternative strategies. As the anarcha-feminist Liz Highleyman put it in 1992, “the day when abortion is again made illegal may come sooner than we like to think. We must be ready to take our bodies and our lives into our own hands.”

Anarcha-feminists were on the front lines of the struggle for abortion throughout the 1980s and ‘90s. They were convinced that Roe v. Wade would not last forever and that they could not depend on the state and the legal system to protect reproductive freedom. Anarcha-feminists took a three-pronged approach to abortion struggle: defense of abortion clinics, construction of grassroots reproductive health infrastructure, and an anti-state approach to building feminist dual power.

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