With videoAfter nearly 50 years, the constitutional right to abortion is ending in the United States. The US Supreme Court has rejected the landmark Roe v Wade decision. US President Biden calls it an ‘unfortunate mistake’. Missouri currently bans abortion.
That 1973 case gave women across the United States the right to have an abortion. As the Supreme Court has now overturned that decision, women no longer have a constitutional right to an abortion. Abortion is likely to become illegal in half of US states after this ruling.
In response, President Joe Biden said, “This is a sad day for the country and for the Supreme Court.” “Let’s be clear: the health and lives of women in our country are at risk,” he added, calling it a “tragic mistake” taken in the name of “a radical ideology.” According to the US president, the court deprived many Americans of a “fundamental” constitutional right.
‘Memorial Day for Life’
On the conservative-dominated Supreme Court, five of the nine justices voted to overturn the national right to abortion. The court considered the case in response to a strict abortion law in the southern state of Mississippi. It is now up to US states to decide whether abortion is legal.
Now that abortion is no longer a fundamental right in the United States, some states are not missing a beat: 13 states have immediately begun steps to outlaw abortion. It is applicable to all 5 states with immediate effect. Soon, women in Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
Missouri bans abortion after Supreme Court ruling “Missouri becomes first in nation to effectively end abortion,” Attorney General Eric Schmidt said on Twitter. “It is a monumental day for the inviolability of life.”
At the same time, the governors of California, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York have announced their intention to protect abortion rights. “This is not the America we know,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “California joins Washington and Oregon in mounting an offensive on the West Coast to protect the right to reproductive freedom of choice in our states.” New Jersey driver Phil Murphy made a similar statement. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a warrant to protect the rights.
That same evening, California took the lead: In the capital, Sacramento, Newsom signed a new law protecting California abortion providers from civil court judgments in other states. According to the governor’s office, it is “one of a dozen abortion-related laws he will enact in the future.”
The court’s three Democratic-appointed justices dissented in a joint statement. “Whatever the exact intent of the upcoming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights and their status as free and equal citizens,” they write. “It’s sad for this court, but it’s too much for the millions of American women who are deprived of basic constitutional protections today. We disagree,” he said.
Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, says she finds this “horrific report outrageous and heartbreaking.” Former President Barack Obama (2009-2017) speaks in response to “attacking the essential liberties of millions of Americans.” He calls the ruling “the result of politicians’ and ideologues’ inclinations to downplay one’s most serious personal decision.” US companies such as Disney, Netflix and Microsoft have announced that they will reimburse their employees for travel expenses if they have to travel to have an abortion.
Trump: ‘God Decided’
Former President Donald Trump praised the decision of the US Supreme Court. “This is unconstitutional and a withdrawal of rights that should have been done much earlier. It puts it back in the states that have always been there,” he told Fox News. Asked if he believed he had a role in the decision after appointing three conservative Supreme Court justices while in office, the former president told the news channel: “God made the decision.”
Comments from around the world
Meanwhile, international reactions to the verdict have been disappointing. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization said: “I am deeply disappointed because women’s rights must be protected. I expected America to protect such rights. Prime Minister Boris Johnson (United Kingdom) speaks of ‘a big setback’. French President Emmanuel Macron says abortion is “a fundamental right for women and we must protect it”.
His Belgian colleague, Alexandre de Croo: “Banning abortion will not lead to fewer abortions, only more unsafe abortions.” And Justin Trudeau (Canada) strongly disagrees, speaking of ‘horrible news’. “No government, politician or man can tell a woman what she can and can’t do with her body,” Trudeau said.
The United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said the ruling was a major blow to women’s human rights. “Access to safe, legal and effective abortion is firmly enshrined in international human rights law,” Bachelet said. She says it allows women to make their own choices about their bodies and lives.
The Vatican welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision. According to the Pontifical Academy of Life, part of the Pope’s administrative apparatus, the decision challenges the world to think about life issues. But the Vatican is also calling for social changes to help women keep their children.
Black day for those with uterus
America’s leading abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, vowed Friday to “never stop fighting” for those in need, despite the Supreme Court ruling. “We know you’re feeling a lot right now – pain, anger, confusion. It doesn’t matter what you’re feeling. We’re with you and we’ll never stop fighting for you,” the organization tweeted.
According to The Gutmacher Institute, an American organization that fights for abortion rights – 26 states will ban the right to an abortion, and 13 of them will soon pass laws. In Washington, California and New Mexico, abortion is expected to be legal.
Eigen Buik’s Dutch outfit Boss called it ‘a black day for wombats around the world’. She says she is “shocked, angry and sad”. “This is a disaster for the right to self-determination of people with a uterus. This reminds us of the impact of abortion laws in the Netherlands as well,” the organization said.
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