MAKE no mistake, rights and equalities that have been fought for over decades are under attack around the world, and the foul repeal of Roe v Wade in America is the latest in a long line of right-wing assaults on bodily autonomy.

Restricting access to safe, legal abortion services will not prevent abortions from happening – it will only prevent safe abortion. Instead, this will force women and anyone else who needs access to reproductive healthcare to instead either travel hundreds of miles to terminate a pregnancy or, for those with less means or ability to travel, to find an unsafe alternative method. This is not about “life”. It is about holding power over the bodies of others.

Yet, the decision to roll back reproductive rights in America did not happen overnight, nor did it happen in a political vacuum. The repeal of Roe v Wade takes place against a backdrop of continued police violence against people of colour in America, the passing of discriminatory anti-trans legislation in multiple states and far-right Proud Boys showing up to Pride events over this past month with the intent of inflicting violence on the US LGBTQ+ community.

It is true that all rights, by their inherent nature, deserve protection in and of themselves, as it is also true that where one set of rights are attacked, undermined or withdrawn, others will inevitably follow.

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The Supreme Court’s decision has signalled to conservatives in the US that other established rights are now ripe for unpicking; the right to contraception, equal marriage and same-sex relationships are already back up for discussion. Meanwhile, within hours of the repeal, Republican Mary Miller called the decision a “historic victory for white life” to cheers from gathered Trump supporters at a rally, standing alongside the former President himself. When the march for equality stagnates or stutters, it creates space for regressive powers to grow – and we in Scotland should in no way consider ourselves immune to this.

Access to abortion in Scotland is not nearly as progressive or protected as it might appear. While abortion in Scotland is technically legal up to 24 weeks from pregnancy, the reality is that if someone wants to access reproductive services up to the legal maximum, they will need to leave the country to do so. There is no health board in Scotland that provides abortion services up to the legal limit. Instead, pregnant women and people need to travel 700 miles to access healthcare in England instead of at home – a situation not so different from what many in the United States will now need to go through to access reproductive healthcare services if they happen to live in a state that has banned abortion.

Despite being legally entitled to this healthcare in Scotland, the reality of our healthcare systems means that abortion after a certain limit is, in practical terms, as inaccessible as if it were illegal. Further to that, a lack of legislation to create buffer zones around clinics and healthcare providers means that many seeking access to reproductive healthcare services and aftercare face a continuing campaign of harassment and intimidation without recourse.

The situation across Scotland is essentially a postcode lottery. While some areas will provide services up to the 20-week mark, if you live in Fife you will find yourself unable to access abortion services from the 15 weeks and five days mark – a solid two months less than the legal limit allows for.

Unless addressed urgently, the situation for accessing reproductive healthcare services can only worsen. We have already seen in Scotland how failing to continue strengthening rights advocacy can cause stagnation that lets bigoted rhetoric spread.

I maintain that the virulent growth of anti-trans rhetoric in Scotland is directly related to the SNP’s failure to move GRA reform legislation forward when it repeatedly had the opportunity to do so. Between a public consultation that showed a majority supported the proposals and being elected on manifesto pledges to do so, there was ample opportunity to move the legislation – and the failure to do so left space that allowed the anti-trans movement to fester and grow into what it has now become.

At a time when we need solidarity to fight against reactionary forces, they have committed themselves to division, through attempts to split the LGB from the T, or in worse cases by actively allying with the far-right against their own interests.

JK Rowling, who has become a leading voice for the British anti-trans movement, recently sent “big love” on Twitter to Caroline Farrow, an anti-LGBT, anti-abortion activist who happens to align with the author on the issue of trans rights. Likewise, Baroness Nicholson, a long-term compatriot of Rowling and a leading opponent to trans rights in the UK, introduced a bill in the House of Lords in 2017 that sought to reduce the legal term during which an abortion could be provided.

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Matt Walsh, a self-described theocratic fascist who praised God when Roe v Wade was overturned, has also found favour and been promoted within so-called “Gender Critical” circles for an anti-trans documentary he produced.

These kinds of allyships have real-world consequences. As a result of the anti-trans rhetoric that paints transgender people as a threat to children, the “groomer” slurs thrown against the entire LGBTQ+ community have returned, while Gillick competence is now under the spotlight once again, further eroding the autonomy of young people.

Rather than sowing division and strengthening the far right, what we need is to recognise our shared struggles in the face of patriarchal oppression, racism and the class system and show solidarity in concurrent and overlapping movements toward liberation.

Together we can fight back against the violent forces that seek to deny us all autonomy.