Abortion right in the United States : a historic regression

This is an unprecedented turnaround in American history. On Friday June 24 the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade which constitutionally protected the abortion right for 50 years. Each American State is free to prohibit or not abortion within its territory.

This is an unprecedented turnaround in American history. On Friday June 24 the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade which constitutionally protected the abortion right for 50 years. Each American State is free to prohibit or not abortion within its territory.

Source: Demonstrations in front of American State Parliaments by AFP

Little reminder

The United States Supreme Court is the American judiciary apex and the last resort court. The third article of the Constitution establishes the Supreme Court and allows Congress to create lower courts. Therefore, this supreme organisation definitively revoked the abortion right on June 24 2022. American States are now free to legislate according to their good will. Since 1973, Roe v. Wade guaranteed the abortion right. Its cancellation let the possibility for the various States to divide into two camps: the « pro-life states »  against abortion and the « pro-choice states » in favor of abortion. Thirteen countries already decided to ban abortion : North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. These states were predisposed to take advantage of this opportunity since they already possessed « trigger laws » ready to be used after the Supreme Court’s verdict.

The worst to come ?

Thirteen other states restricting the right to abortion could follow. Thus, twenty-six states out of fifty would prohibit or drastically limit the right of women to decide whether or not to maintain a pregnancy.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 2022 could be even worse. By appointing Judge Amy Coney Barret in 2020, former United States President Donald Trump gave to the nation’s highest court a conservative majority, six out of nine judges.

For the Guttmacher Institute, this « underscores that the need for abortion care is increasing in the United States ». Published before the revocation, the study explained it underscores this need: « just when the Supreme Court seems ready to get  of Roe v. Wade. » This is the first drastic number of abortions increase in 30 years.  It also represents 930,000 abortions, wether one out of five pregnancies.

The American President’s position

Boris Johnson lamented the decision: « State laws banning abortion are automatically taking effects today, jeopardising the health of millions of women, some without exceptions. So extreme that women could be punished for protecting their health. So extreme that women and girls are forced to bear their rapist’s child ».

A cross-border impact

Faced with this historic decline in the United States, the president and co-founder of the Women’s Foundation threatened the propagation of this restriction of right in France with the arrival of a conservative force in the National Assembly.

On June 25, Aurore Bergé, head of LREM deputies, proposed a law to include  abortion right in the Constitution. This constitutional law (number 2086) proposes a  supplemented and single article at the eighth title of the Constitution supplemented : “no one can hinder the fundamental right to voluntary termination of pregnancy”. Also supported by the Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and several of the parties making up the newly elected National Assembly, it is highly likely that the country will succeed in « setting this achievement in stone ».

Unfortunately, few hopes remain in the USA facing a shift from “my body my choice” to “your body my choice”. Indeed, Supreme Court judges are irremovable and sit for life. As a consequence, there is no chance they revoke their decision. Women wishing to have an abortion will therefore be forced to move to more liberal states like California or countries like Canada, ready to support and respect women’s right to dispose of their bodies.

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