: Marx and Engels---to my knowledge---did not address this issue directly. Engels' Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State makes very clear his belief that a woman's body is HERS, and the state should keep its hands off.
That's true so far as it goes, but it only sees one side of the issue. As you have so well pointed out, "Freedom TO or freedom FROM?" Does the mother's freedom TO do as she wishes with her body obviate the freedom of the fetus FROM arbitrary death. At what point does the fetus begin to have rights, and freedoms, that we ought to consider?
You're the one who's been re-stressing teh fact that freedom is not absolute, and that the rights of different groups of people often come into conflict. This case is a perfect example of that. If a hotel owner does not have the right to hire a worker for below the minimum wage, then why does a woman have a prima facie right to an abortion? Before allowing eitehr "freedom", shouldn't we analyze the likely effects and the competing claims of the people / beings involved.
: The Bolsheviks initiated a policy of free abortion on demand following the 1917 revolution (first governement to do so).
It makes them "progressive", it doesn't make them necessarily "right".
Abortion, by the way, was legal in America until the mid-1800s, and has always been practiced in a number of asian and african societies. The Japanese Buddhists, I think, see it as a moral wrong, but not wrong enough to pass laws against- somewhat analogous to eating meat.
:Trotsky called abortion-on-demand 'one of [women's] most important civil, political and cultural rights' (The Revolution Betrayed, Doubleday, Doran and Co. 1937, p. 149).
Yes, and that is supposed to imply....what? He also said that you couldn't belkieve in Darwinian evolution without also being an atheist, a stand which almost all religious and scientific people today disavow; he in fact said that this was true "regardless of what Darwin chose to say about it." Yeah, right.
Incidentally, what is a 'cultural' right?
: Stalin reversed this policy in the 1930s, making (all) abortion illegal again.
: Deduce from those facts what you may.
I think I'm supposed to deduce that abortion rights are necessarily good, because Stalin opposed them and Trotsky supported them. But I aint' buying. It would be nice to know WHY Stalin opposed abortion rights. Just as it is interesting to knwo WHY the Soviets abstained from signing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in '48, not because it went to far buit because it didn't (purportedly) go far enought, although actually it was very socialist in its implications. What was Stalin's rationale at the time?
Stalin was abd guy. A very bad guy. a very, very bad guy. But he did do a couple of things that were good, though probably from selfish motivations. He sent aid to the Spanish Workers' Republic. He encouraged the CPI to abandon insurgency and seek power through parliamentary elections. He helped defeat Hitler, at a cost of some 22 million Soviet lives. Maybe this was one of them?
The liberal-Marxist Lao People's Revolutionary Party also banned abortion. Are they a little Stalin too? I don't think so. In fact, it it possible that they have a better idea about things then the Bolsheviks? They certainly were far more humane and less repressive than Stalin and his Bolsheviks. (I don't knwo about LEnin, I'm not going to comment, because every time you guys argue about Lenin the air gets hevay with historical data, and I don't have much.)