It violates women’s fundamental rights and goes against the global trend.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against the right to abortion, overturning a 49-year-old decision that recognized it as a constitutional right, and calling the basis for the decision weak and wrong while leaving it to the states to whether or not the procedure is legal.
Abortion may now be severely restricted in about half of the states in the U.S. where conservatives form a majority.
The conflict over abortion has been fierce in the U.S. between advocates who emphasize a woman’s right to choose and opponents of the procedure, who argue that the fetus has a life of its own.
In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized abortion as a protected right of women in Roe v. Wade, a case that challenged the constitutionality of a Texas law banning abortion. Roe v. Wade held that states could not ban abortion prior to approximately 24 weeks of pregnancy.
This time, the court heard a challenge to the constitutionality of a Mississippi law prohibiting abortions later than 15 weeks. There is a conservative majority of six justices on the nine-justice court. Five voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, and one justice concurred that the Mississippi law was constitutional but argued that it was not necessary to overturn the decision. The three liberal justices dissented from the opinion.
Behind the scenes is the increasing conservatism of the judiciary under the previous Republican administration of President Donald Trump. Trump named three conservative justices to the bench, including one to fill a vacancy left by the death of a liberal justice, and these appointments were seen as laying the groundwork for the growing conservative posture of the court.
The Christian right, which forms the base of Republican Party support, has long cherished the idea of banning abortion. Conversely, Democratic President Joe Biden, who has called for the protection of abortion rights, called the decision “a tragic error.” [
Some states with large numbers of Democratic supporters are moving to strengthen laws and regulations protecting abortion rights, further deepening division in the United States.
Even if states regulate abortion, women will continue to seek abortions for a variety of reasons that have to do with such issues as poverty and sexual violence. It is also expensive to travel to another state for an abortion, and it is widely noted that an increasing number of women will try to get abortions on their own in more dangerous ways.
According to international abortion rights advocacy groups, nearly 50 countries have expanded abortion rights in recent decades. In most developed countries, abortion is widely accepted, at least in the early stages of pregnancy. The leaders of some countries have expressed concern that this decision will have a major global impact.
The Biden administration has called on Congress to legislate federal protection for abortion in response to the Supreme Court decision, and intends to make this an issue in the November midterm elections. Abortion is a fundamental issue that concerns the lives and rights of women and the unborn. It should be debated from a wide range of perspectives.