In 1973, women across the US celebrated a Supreme Court abortion ruling. To this day, the decision is considered a milestone because it allowed abortions until the fetus was viable. Now she is history.
The US Supreme Court has made a landmark decision overturning the country’s liberal abortion laws. The mostly conservative Supreme Court in Washington cleared the way for stricter abortion laws on Friday – up to complete bans in some US states. With that, the current abortion rights in the United States are history after almost half a century.
“The constitution does not grant the right to an abortion,” the verdict says. The decision is not a surprise: the magazine “Politico” published a draft of it at the beginning of May. It was already clear from this that the court intends to decide in this way. There was an outcry from women’s rights organizations, clinics and liberals. The verdict is now as drastic as expected. In about half of the states, there are now likely to be extensive restrictions.
Supreme Court overturns 1973 and 1992 rulings
There is no federal law in the United States that allows or prohibits abortion. However, abortions are permitted at least until the fetus is viable – today around the 24th week. This has so far been ensured by a 1973 US Supreme Court ruling, known as Roe v. Wade is known. Another 1992 ruling, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, reinforced the jurisprudence and adjusted it somewhat. The Supreme Court has now overturned these decisions.
Abortion rights have been the subject of heated debates in the United States. Opponents have been trying to overturn the liberal rules for decades. Under the previous President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court moved significantly to the right. The Republican appointed Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett during his tenure. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan and Justice Stephen Breyer voted against the decision. They are considered liberal.
26 states want to tighten abortion laws
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 26 and thus about half of the 50 states are now likely to introduce stricter abortion rights. 13 of these conservatively run states have already prepared corresponding laws. Just over an hour after the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Missouri Attorney General issued an abortion ban for the Midwestern state.
In contrast, the states governed by President Joe Biden’s Democrats want to uphold the right to abortion. In the future, many women could be forced to travel to other states if they want to have an abortion.
Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortion services in the United States, announced that it would continue to campaign for abortion rights. “We will never give up the fight,” the company said. Ex-President Barack Obama called the court decision an attack on the “fundamental freedoms” of US citizens.
Several states want to retain abortion laws
The US states of California, Oregon and Washington, which are ruled by the Democrats, want to uphold abortion rights. They have pledged to “defend access to reproductive health care, including abortion and contraceptives,” the governors of the three liberal west coast states said on Friday. They also want to “protect patients and doctors from the efforts of other states to export their abortion bans to our states”.
The governors of the three states therefore announced that they would prevent local law enforcement agencies from working with police forces from other states in which abortion is criminalized. In particular, it aims to prevent the extradition of people who are wanted for abortions that are legally performed under their own law.
The governors of Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York also announced their liberal stance on abortions on Friday. “We will always be a safe haven for anyone across the country who needs abortion treatment. You have my word,” New York Premier Kathy Hochul wrote.
“This is not the America we know,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom. “California has joined with Washington and Oregon to form a West Coast offensive to protect reproductive freedom in our states.” New Jersey Prime Minister Phil Murphy made a similar statement. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed an executive order to protect rights.