Battle over abortion rights further polarizes the United States | USA

At the White House, Joe Biden on Friday pledged to use his power as US president to protect women’s abortion rights. Just a few blocks away, Claire, a 20-year-old student, joined thousands of others in the March for Life to the Capitol and the Supreme Court to demand more restrictions on reproductive rights. “Our fight is not over. It’s more important than ever,” she said with conviction as her group of friends gathered around each other.

50th anniversary on Sunday Rua v. Wade, which in 1973 legalized the constitutional right to abortion in the United States. It is the first anniversary since the Supreme Court overturned the landmark ruling in June. The court’s decision means that states have the power to establish their own abortion laws. This widened the already deep divisions in the country, fueled an avalanche of legislation from both sides, and further entrenched the positions of anti-abortion and reproductive rights activists.

“The court found Red right 50 years ago. It was a balanced decision with a broad national consensus that most Americans have continued to support for the past 50 years. And it was a constitutional principle upheld by judges appointed by both Democratic and Republican presidents,” Biden noted in his commemorative proclamation. “I will continue to use my executive authority to protect women and families from harm after the Dobbs decision.”

Biden was referring to the Supreme Court ruling in June Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The abortion clinic filed a lawsuit against the state of Mississippi over its 2018 law that banned nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. But he lost the case, and the conservative-led court overturned Rua v. Wade in a 6-3 ruling. The ruling came as no surprise: a draft majority opinion had been leaked to the press two months earlier, an unprecedented leak that is still being investigated.

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But the ruling sparked widespread protests. According to polls, most Americans support the right to abortion. A Pew Center poll last year found that 62% of adults living in the country believe abortion should be legal, compared to 36% who believe it should be illegal in all or most cases.

The ruling also had political consequences. Many female voters, angered by the court’s decision, favored the Democratic Party in the mid-term elections in November. The Democratic Party did better than expected in the vote. He consolidated his control of the Senate and only lost the House of Representatives, which is currently in Republican hands, by a handful of seats.

After the Supreme Court overruled Roe vs. Wade, many Republican-controlled states passed legislation banning abortion in almost all cases. Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Oklahoma and West Virginia are some of the states that have restricted the right to abortion. Legal challenges are pending against some of these bans.

Other Republican-controlled states have banned abortion entirely. Elective abortions are not available in Wisconsin, due to legal uncertainties facing abortion clinics, and in North Dakota, the single clinic relocated to Minnesota.

But the Supreme Court’s ruling also prompted a backlash. States such as California, Vermont and Michigan voted in the November midterm elections to protect women’s reproductive rights in the state constitution. Kentucky, and a few months earlier, Kansas, rejected constitutional amendments that would have declared no right to abortion. This month, the South Carolina Supreme Court struck down the state’s ban on abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, arguing that it violates the right to privacy.

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“Many states have an almost total ban on abortion with very limited exceptions or have banned the procedure early in pregnancy. The courts have blocked some of these bans from taking effect, ushering in a chaotic legal landscape that disrupts providers trying to offer care and patients trying to receive it,” said Elizabeth Nash and Isabel Guarnieri , from the reproductive rights organization Guttmacher Institute, in a press release last week.

In the face of this uncertainty, some states, such as New York, rushed to declare themselves as abortion sanctuary states, announcing measures to help women from states where abortion is restricted or prohibited. But reproductive rights activists point out that traveling to another state is not a viable solution for many women, as they cannot afford the cost of travel and accommodation.

“Millions of people are being denied the right to bodily autonomy and access to critical health care,” Guttmacher’s team noted. “When people don’t have access to abortion care in their state, they are forced to make the difficult decision to travel long distances for care, manage their own abortion or carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.”

Reproductive rights advocates in the US are trying to find solutions. Planned Parenthood, for example, has begun sending mobile abortion clinics to meet patients near restrictive state borders.

On the federal side, the government also wants to protect reproductive rights. As of this month, retail pharmacies can sell abortion pills thanks to a regulatory change made by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). US Vice President Kamala Harris is also scheduled to give a speech in Florida on Sunday to reaffirm her government’s commitment to protecting reproductive rights.

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But while the White House may want to protect abortion rights, it has limited power to do so: pro-choice legislation has no chance of getting through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. But the opposite is also true: the Democratic-controlled Senate would not introduce a national ban on abortion or stricter measures on reproductive rights.

That hasn’t stopped pro-lifers from trying. Marjorie Dannelfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America (SBA), is lobbying for a “federal minimum standard” for abortion. Under this proposal, the cut-off line would be set at 13 weeks of pregnancy, after which abortion would not be allowed in any state. And states could impose even stricter limits if they wished.

The anti-abortion movement, still triumphant after the Supreme Court’s decision, wants to take its agenda even further. But there is still no consensus on the next steps to be taken. At the start of Friday’s March for Life Rally, one of the organizers, Jeanne Mancini, told the crowd that they needed to consider “where we, as a movement, need to focus our efforts as we enter this new era in our effort to protect life. .”

Meanwhile, abortion rights are becoming a hot button issue in next year’s presidential election. Dannenfelser, of the SBA, warned that any White House candidate who is considered soft on the issue “will be disqualified as a presidential candidate in our eyes, and having done so has little chance of winning the nomination.”

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