It’s a decision with huge repercussions for women in the US: The Supreme Court overturns the country’s liberal abortion laws. Many states have prepared for this moment.

After the Supreme Court’s controversial decision, a number of US states have already enacted far-reaching bans on abortion.

In states like Arkansas, Kentucky or Louisiana, abortions are no longer allowed – not even in cases of rape or incest. There are usually only exceptions for medical emergencies. A number of liberal states, on the other hand, announced that they wanted to continue protecting the right to abortion. US President Joe Biden expressed his shock again on Saturday at the court’s decision to overturn the country’s liberal abortion law. Protests broke out in several US cities.

The US Supreme Court published its decision on Friday. The mostly conservative Supreme Court thus paved the way for stricter abortion laws – even including complete bans.

Trigger Laws come into effect

Some states had prepared prohibition laws in the event of a different jurisdiction – so-called trigger laws. In some states they will now take effect immediately, in others it will take about a month. Some states require formal endorsement from the attorney general or governor.

As early as Friday, thousands of people had spontaneously protested the verdict in several major US cities, including the capital Washington, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Austin, Denver and Philadelphia. In New York alone, at least 1,000 people demonstrated for abortion rights in Washington Square Park in Manhattan. On Friday evening (local time), demonstrators held up signs reading “My rapist has more rights than I do” and chanted slogans such as “Abortion is a human right”. More demonstrations are likely to follow in the coming days.

Half of states restrict abortion

There is no federal law in the United States that allows or prohibits abortion. However, abortions were permitted at least until the fetus was viable – today around the 24th week. This was ensured by two rulings by the US Supreme Court, which have now been overturned. Now the US states can decide on abortion rights. Abortion is now likely to be severely restricted or banned in around half of the states.

In many states, such as Missouri and Oklahoma, doctors who perform abortions now face lengthy prison terms. On the other hand, the governors from California, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, among others, professed their liberal attitude towards abortions. Women can now theoretically travel to these states to have an abortion. However, many cannot afford it. It is feared that more women will try to have an abortion themselves.

President Biden said at an appearance with his wife Jill at the White House on Saturday: “Jill and I know how painful and devastating this decision is for so many Americans.”

Biden is appalled

Biden had already expressed his horror on Friday and called the decision a “tragic mistake”. He announced measures to protect women’s rights, such as protecting their freedom to travel when visiting another state for an abortion. Biden also directed the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure access to approved abortion pills, including via telemedicine and mailing. Overall, however, the President is relatively powerless in the face of the decision.

Biden’s Democrats would like to legislate abortion rights nationwide. But they lack the necessary votes in Congress. Biden cannot simply restore that right as president by decree. He hopes to get the necessary majority for such a law for his party in the congressional elections in November. However, polls tend to point in the other direction – towards gains for the Republicans.

Strong international reactions too

The decision also met with strong reactions internationally. Several top politicians from abroad expressed concern to shock. “Women’s rights are under threat. We have to defend them consistently, »Wrote Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Twitter on Saturday. There is still a long way to go before gender equality. This applies to Germany and many other parts of the world.

While liberals reacted with horror to the verdict, many conservatives celebrated the decision. Ex-US President Donald Trump called the decision a “win for life”. His Vice President at the time, Mike Pence, called on anti-abortion advocates to campaign for ruptures to be banned in all states. According to polls, a majority of Americans support the right to abortion.