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On Roe Anniversary, State Legislators Denounce White Supremacist Attacks on Democracy and Abortion Access

January 22, 2021


Today marks the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and on the heels of a violent attack on our democracy, state legislators on SiX’s Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council (RFLC), are confronting our nation’s long history of white supremacist violence including strikes against abortion clinics.

Abortion advocates understand the violent connection between the attacks at the US Capitol and the attacks we witness daily at clinics across this country, said Jennifer Driver, SiX’s Reproductive Rights Senior Director. “These attacks are rooted in white supremacist ideology driven by the desire for power and control.”

With mounting evidence of anti-abortion leaders purposefully spreading disinformation and calling for violence in the lead up to the attempted coup on the U.S. Capitol,  and of state legislators like West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans actively participating in the mob (Evans has since resigned), state legislative champions of reproductive freedom see a straight line between attacks on abortion access and the white supremacist attack on the Capitol.

The parallels between the January 6 and anti-abortion protests are stark,” explained Michigan Senator Erika Geiss. “Both groups are fueled by lies and misinformation and use tactics rooted in patriarchal and white supremacist ideas about who is and is not worthy of having their voices heard or needs met. Both groups aimed to harm and traumatize the people with whom they disagreed through violent rhetoric and actions. Were the two groups a Venn Diagram, it would likely look like a circle.

“Our country’s complacency with anti-abortion extremism for decades directly emboldened the attacks on our nation’s democracy,” said newly elected West Virginia Delegate Kayla Young. “In a red state like West Virginia, we are used to white supremacists upholding the systems where they continue to control those who can get pregnant. Anyone fighting for reproductive justice is used to the rhetoric and terror that unfolded, and we must fight harder than ever to build equitable systems that guarantee access to healthcare.”

“I know firsthand the double standard of how police treated those of us who have stood up for justice for Breonna Taylor and the movement for Black lives versus the response to violent mobs trying to overturn an election where Black and Brown communities and young people lead us to political victory in Georgia and our nation,” said Kentucky Representative Attica Scott, who was arrested along with her teenage daughter, by police last year. 

“What we witnessed in our Capitol was not an anomaly. It was the result of our nation’s long and painful history of white supremacist violence, colonialism, institutional and systemic racism, and a willful denial of our oppressive past and present,” Representative Scott added.

“As a co-founder of the abortion fund Vermont Access to Reproductive Freedom, I sometimes worried about my safety, knowing the extremist and violent history of the anti-abortion movement,” Vermont Representative Selene Colburn said. “Today as a state legislator, I have similar fears for my colleagues (especially BIPOC legislators and activists), myself, and our families. We can draw a straight line from the bombings, arsons, and murders at clinics to the tactics used in the assault on the nation’s capitol earlier this month and while that’s a frightening reality, we will never stop fighting for the right to access reproductive healthcare free of restrictions, barriers, intimidation, and violent interference.”