New protests as new American abortion reality takes shape

  • Thousands of abortion rights defenders have gathered across America to protest the Supreme Court’s ruling.
  • The ruling will now allow states to deny the right to abortion.
  • Many fear that the Supreme Court, with a clear conservative majority, will then set its sights on rights such as same-sex marriage and contraception.

Abortion rights advocates fanned out across America on Saturday for a second day of protest against the lightning Supreme Court ruling, as state after conservative state acted swiftly to ban the procedure.

The deeply polarized country struggled with a new level of division: between states that now or will soon deny the right to abortion, enshrined since 1973, and states that still allow it.

Several thousand people thronged the gated Washington Supreme Court on Saturday in hot summer weather, holding placards that read “War on women, who’s next?” and “No womb, no opinion.”

“What happened yesterday is indescribable and disgusting,” said Mia Stagner, 19, a political science major in college. “Being forced to be a mother is not something a woman should do.”

Demonstrations also took place in Los Angeles, with dozens of smaller rallies from coast to coast.

At least eight right-wing states have immediately banned abortion — and a similar number will follow in the coming weeks — after the Supreme Court abolished 50-year constitutional protections for the procedure, drawing criticism from some of America’s closest allies around the world.

By fueling the mobilization, many now fear that the Supreme Court, with a clear conservative majority powered by Donald Trump, could next set its sights on rights such as same-sex marriage and contraception.

President Joe Biden – who has also expressed concern that the court may not settle for abortion – again spoke out against the “shocking decision” on Saturday.

“I know how painful and devastating the decision is for so many Americans,” said the president, who urged Congress to restore abortion protection as a federal law, and promised the issue would be on the agenda in November’s midterm elections. .

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Women in states that severely restrict or prohibit abortion must either continue their pregnancy, have a clandestine abortion, receive abortion pills, or travel to another state where it is still legal.

But “most women don’t have the time of day or the financial means to travel across state lines to have an abortion,” Mikayla Marcum, a 23-year-old originally from Texas, told AFP on Saturday. the Supreme Court.

“We’re going to see some nightmare scenarios unfortunately,” Biden’s spokeswoman Karine Jean Pierre told reporters on Air Force One as the president headed to Europe for Group of Seven and NATO summits.

“That’s not hypothetical,” she said.

Republican-Led States Enact Prohibitions

Friday’s demonstrations were largely without incident, although police fired tear gas at protesters in Phoenix, Arizona and a pickup truck drove through a group of protesters in the Iowa city of Cedar Rapids and ran over a woman’s foot.

In Washington, the scene was again mostly peaceful on Saturday — save for a single shouting match between abortion rights advocates and opponents.

Carolyn Keller, 57, who came all the way from New Jersey, said she was outraged by the ruling, warning, “They came after women. They’re going to go after the LGBT community and birth control.”

But counter-protesters like Savannah Craven held their ground.

“It is not a personal choice to have an abortion, it involves two people and unfortunately that choice ends at the end of one’s life,” she told AFP.

As protesters like Craven made clear, Friday’s ruling is a victory in the religious right’s fight against abortion, but the movement’s ultimate goal is a nationwide ban.

That goal is now in sight in about two dozen states that are now expected to severely restrict or even ban and criminalize abortions.

Missouri was the first to ban the proceedings on Friday, without exception for rape or incest, and was joined as of Saturday morning by at least seven other states — Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Utah.

In Wisconsin, where an 1849 law banning abortion except when the mother’s life is saved may come into effect, Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, has vowed to pardon doctors who are persecuted, local media reports.

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In its ruling, the Supreme Court rejected the argument in Roe v. Wade that women had the right to abortion on the basis of the constitutional right to privacy regarding their own bodies.

Several Democrat-ruled states, anticipating an influx of patients, have already taken steps to facilitate abortion, and three of them — California, Oregon and Washington — have made a joint pledge to defend access in the wake of the decision. of the court.

Abortion providers said they had seen an increase in donations since the ruling as they braced for the long arduous road ahead.

“In the 24 hours following the court’s devastating decision, Planned Parenthood … saw an aggregate 40-fold increase in donations compared to a typical day — more than half of them are new donors,” Kelley Robinson, vice president president of advocacy at the largest abortion provider in the United States, said in a statement to AFP.

“This is just the beginning and we won’t back down,” she said.