International Women’s Day, March 8, and Women’s History Month, observed this month, should be a time to celebrate gains in equal rights for women. But the ultra-right has launched an offensive to wipe out women’s reproductive rights, a launching pad for rolling back every other gain women have won.

The South Dakota Legislature approved a bill Feb. 23 outlawing any abortion except to save a pregnant woman’s life. Mississippi is poised to pass an equally sweeping ban. Anti-abortion zealots boast that their aim is a Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that upholds the right of a woman to end an unwanted pregnancy. They are counting on Bush appointees John Roberts and Samuel Alito to tip the balance against Roe.

It’s worrisome that the Supreme Court, in an 8-0 ruling Feb. 28, revoked a court injunction requiring law enforcement to protect abortion clinics. From the mid-1980s to the mid-’90s, doctors, nurses and other health providers were killed or seriously wounded in attacks on clinics that offered abortion services. The National Organization for Women filed suit against the vigilantes. A federal court issued an injunction barring such attacks, agreeing that they were part of a nationwide criminal enterprise using extortion, violence and threats of violence. Since that injunction, violence at abortion clinics has practically ended.

The anti-abortion offensive is driven by vicious, hypocritical male supremacy. It strips women of their most personal rights, to control their own bodies and when and how they have children. This offensive puts men’s rights in peril as well. These anti-women attacks are slimy efforts to divert and distract from the Republicans’ anti-life, budget-slashing, warmongering agenda. It is imperative for men to join in the struggle to defend Roe v. Wade.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice, said the offensive proves “that elections do matter. We will be very active in ’06 and ’08 in electing candidates who respect the views of most Americans,” who by a wide majority support women’s reproductive rights. Together we have to stand up to these anti-women bullies and send them packing.

En español EDITORIAL: Luchando por la mujer