Bigger issues at play than just reproductive health in WA lawmaker’s call for a general women’s strike

Jun 28, 2022, 12:01 PM


JUNE 8: Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Political fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade increases by the day. Monday, U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal joined local Democratic lawmakers to outline how their party plans to codify access to abortion, ultimately calling for a general women’s strike.

“I’ll just mention that, in 1975, the women of Iceland went on strike for equal rights. 90% of women walked off their jobs and their homes, shutting down the entire country. Five years later, Iceland elected its first female president, and today Iceland has the highest gender equality in the world. It is time to consider such a move here in the United States,” Jayapal said in a news conference Monday.

The focal point of Jayapal’s speech hinged on outlining future congressional action to codify Roe, with the U.S. representative calling on voters to elect “more pro-choice senators who are willing to overturn the filibuster, or, at a minimum, carve out important exceptions to protect our rights.”

Oct. 24, 1975, women across Iceland refused to go to work to highlight gender-based pay inequities. “Women’s Day Off” has been credited in part for Iceland’s passage of equal pay in parliament the following year.

Using economic leverage — in the form of a general strike — to push expanded access to abortion highlights one of the criticisms of free access to abortion: that expanded access to entitlements like maternity leave should come before the passage of abortion protections.

“I think there’s a bigger issue at play here. The American culture came to believe that one’s work life is synonymous with their intrinsic identity, as if somehow the job you go to is more important than raising the next generation of human beings,” KTTH producer Greg Tomlin said.

“You see that in these women like Pramila Jayapal, or the Seattle Port Commissioner, who think it’s this wonderful act of courage to say, ‘Yeah, I had three abortions because I needed to get ahead in life.’”

“Hey, female employees, it’s cheaper for them to virtue signal and fly you to Washington state than pay your maternity leave,” KTTH host Bryan Suits said. “They want you to keep working. They don’t want you to raise a little human. They want you eight hours a day.”

Whether the nation chooses to embrace something like a general women’s strike puts that question to the test: are Americans willing to jeopardize their economic security over an issue that’s repeatedly framed by the left as a fundamental, constitutional right?

“Americans, by and large, have been paralyzed and pacified in fear,” KIRO Newsradio host Jack Stine said.

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“The idea that you would actually leave your job, and strike with hundreds of thousands of other people, is something that most Americans think is a fantasy, something that is unattainable.

“Actually showing up and doing the difficult task of a general strike is something that Americans are just not interested in. They do it in Europe all of the time. But there’s something about the American spirit that has just been withered, or maybe even compromised in some way.

“No one believes that direct action or direct civil action will result in anything. It’s actually kind of sad that people don’t think that striking has any power, when we see in instances like Iceland where it almost certainly does work.”

Listen to the Bryan Suits Show weekday mornings from 6–9 a.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Bigger issues at play than just reproductive health in WA lawmaker’s call for a general women’s strike