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The US Supreme Court scraps abortion rights

#Supreme #Court #scraps #abortion #rights

The US Supreme Court on Friday ended abortion rights in a seismic ruling that undid half a century of constitutional protections on one of America’s most contentious issues.

The Conservative-dominated court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade” in 1973, which enshrined a woman’s right to an abortion, and said individual states could limit or ban the procedure themselves — which half seem willing to do.

“The Constitution does not confer a right to an abortion,” the court said in a 6-3 decision. “The authority to regulate abortion will be returned to the people and their elected officials.”

Hundreds of people – some shed tears of joy and others of sorrow – gathered outside the fenced-off Supreme Court, where security was tightened ahead of the verdict.

“It’s hard to imagine living in a country that doesn’t respect women as human beings and their right to control their bodies,” said Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat, 49, a mother of two, who choked back tears.

But Gwen Charles, a 21-year-old anti-abortion activist, was cheering.

“This is the day we’ve been waiting for,” Charles told AFP. “We will usher in a new culture of living in the United States.”

The Supreme Court ruling is likely to unleash a cavalcade of new legislation in about half of the 50 U.S. states that will severely restrict or outright ban and criminalize abortion, forcing women to travel long distances to states that allow the procedure still allow.

Just hours after the decision, the state of Missouri in the Midwest banned abortion — with no exceptions for rape or incest.

“This is a monumental day for the sanctity of life,” Attorney General Eric Schmitt said on Twitter announcing the move.

– “Completly wrong” –

In the majority opinion, Judge Samuel Alito, Roe v. Wade was “enormously wrong”.

“Abortion is a profound moral issue on which Americans hold sharply conflicting views,” he said. “The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of any state from regulating or prohibiting abortion.”

The court rejected the legal argument in Roe v. Wade that women have the right to abortion based on the constitutional right to privacy over their own bodies.

The ruling marks a victory in the religious right’s 50-year fight against abortion – activists are now expected to continue pushing for a nationwide ban.

“God made the decision,” said former Republican President Donald Trump.

Alito’s opinion largely reflects his draft opinion, which was the subject of an extraordinary leak in early May that sparked demonstrations across the country, with a gunman arrested this month near the home of Conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the verdict “outrageous and heartbreaking.”

“But make no mistake: the rights of women and of all Americans are on the ballot this November (in the midterm elections),” she said.

Leading abortion provider Planned Parenthood vowed to “never stop fighting.”

Former Democratic President Barack Obama accused the verdict of submitting “the most personal decision anyone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues — an assault on the fundamental freedoms of millions of Americans.”

But former Republican Vice President Mike Pence said the court “righted a historic wrong” and relegated US abortion rights to the “ash heap of history.”

– ‘Won’t stop here’ –

The court’s three liberal judges disagreed with the ruling — which came a day after the court initiated a significant expansion of US gun rights.

“One outcome of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights and their status as free and equal citizens,” they said.

Abortion providers could now face criminal penalties, and “some states won’t stop there,” they warned.

“Perhaps after today’s decision, a state law will also criminalize the woman’s behavior and imprison or fine her for daring to seek or obtain an abortion,” they said.

The court’s ruling goes against an international trend of relaxing abortion laws, including in countries like Ireland, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia, where the Catholic Church continues to wield considerable influence.

This was made possible by Trump’s nomination of three conservative judges – Neil Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

The case before the court was a Mississippi law that would limit abortion to 15 weeks, but during the December hearing of the case, several judges said they were willing to go further.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 13 states have passed so-called “trigger laws” that ban abortion almost immediately.

Ten others have pre-1973 laws that could go into effect, or laws that would ban abortions after six weeks, before many women even know they’re pregnant.

Women in states with strict anti-abortion laws must either continue their pregnancy, have a clandestine abortion or receive abortion pills, or travel to another state where the procedure remains legal.

Several Democratic-ruled states have taken steps to make abortion easier in anticipation of an influx, and three of them — California, Oregon and Washington — have made a joint pledge to defend access following the Supreme Court decision.

But travel is expensive, and abortion rights groups say any new restriction will hit poor women, many of whom are black or Hispanic, hard.

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