An Assault on Women

The religious minority in the United States is on the verge of prevailing on reversing the right to abortion.

For the first time, the religious right in the United States, embedded in the Republican Party, is in a position to achieve its major political goal of the past half century: revoking the right to abortion. The freedom to terminate pregnancy was established in 1973 by the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. The court held that a woman has the right to an abortion without restriction before a fetus is viable, believed to be 23 weeks. Since then, the Supreme Court justices who hold widely different opinions on the subject have reaffirmed this precedent, rejecting dozens of efforts to restrict abortion by Republican states. Until this year. On Dec. 1, the justices heard arguments in a case from Mississippi, which intends to limit the right of abortion by reducing the time limit to 15 weeks. The questions asked by the justices usually indicate what they are thinking, in this case, the arguments raised concerns that the half-century-old precedent will be severely compromised, if not completely reversed. The fact that the case is being considered at all goes against precedent. The decision on abortion is expected to be delivered sometime next June, when the current Supreme Court session ends.

A decision in favor of Mississippi would leave limits to the right of abortion in state hands, and would mean the possibility of severely restricting or eliminating abortion in at least 20 states. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, millions of women from states with a conservative majority will immediately lose their current right to abortion, curtailed by laws that are already drafted and approved, and waiting to go into effect. Not only is it a legal outrage for women, but it is also absurd and incompatible with the radical interpretation of individual freedom, which, for better or for worse, is the basis of life in the U.S.

It is important to understand how we have reached this point. This situation is possible because six of the nine Supreme Court justices, appointed for life, are conservatives (appointed by Republican presidents) and three fit the profiles of Democrats. This is the most unbalanced Supreme Court in decades. Although this has not yet led to a conservative steamroller effect, the truth is that the three progressive judges will find it hard to have an impact on the majority. The current composition of the Supreme Court in no way reflects how the majority of the country feels, not the majority as expressed in the polls (only 20% want to ban abortion), nor the majority as expressed at the ballot box. There are historical reasons that explain such an imbalance, but it is mainly the consequence of machinations by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who illegitimately blocked President Barack Obama’s nomination of a justice to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. The appointment was made by Donald Trump, who won election in 2016 against all odds, thanks to the votes of a religious right who despised him but voted for the promise to add anti-abortion judges to the bench. Through the Supreme Court, an unelected body, the moralistic American right has achieved a degree of power that was never conferred by the ballot box to launch an assault on civil rights, starting with the rights of women.

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