“The Constitution does not give a right to abortion. Roe and Casey are repealed and the authority to regulate abortion reverts to the people and their elected representatives.” with that phrase five justices of the conservative majority of the Supreme Court of the United States have put an end this Friday to almost fifty years of constitutional protection of the right to abortion (the sixth conservative judge, John Roberts, has voted in favor of keeping a restrictive Mississippi law at the center of the case but has said that he would have taken “a path more restrained” than repeal).
The ruling, expected since a draft was leaked in May, marks a turning point in the history of US reproductive rights. represents a authentic political and social earthquake which will undoubtedly mark intensely the political life in the country, which faces legislative elections in November.
49 years after the sentence dand Roe v Wade, ratified in 1992 with Planned Parenthood v Casey, the Supreme Court now returns the regulation of abortion to the states, which are the ones that should decide whether to allow it or not. In at least 13 Republican-controlled states there are laws that, with this ruling repealing Roe, will do the illegal abortion immediately or in the next 30 days, and three of them (Missouri, Louisiana and Kentucky) have activated those laws this Friday. In another 13, according to analyzes by the Guttmacher Institute, outlawing is also on the horizon.
Paradoxically, in uA ruling handed down Thursday on weapons which has enshrined the right to wear them in public, the conservative majority superimposed the Second Amendment on state law.
For conservatives, who have been fighting abortion for decades, and in recent years have enacted increasingly restrictive laws in the states they control, it’s an undoubted victory.
For the Democrats, on the other hand, it is an “abomination”. That is the term that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, leaders in both chambers of Congress, used in a statement with the leak, who described the sentence that has been confirmed this Friday as “one of the worst and most damaging decisions in the modern history”.
Other rights at risk
Progressives know the setback that the Supreme Court ruling represents for women’s reproductive rights, and especially the most poor and minority, but also of the threat it poses to other rights. And since the draft was leaked, it has been warned that reasoning such as abortion “has no roots in history” endangers advances such as civil rights or gay marriage. Judge Clarence Thomas, in fact, has assured in this Friday’s sentence that they must review previous sentences that protect same-sex relationships and marriage Y contraceptives.
The path now for progressives is to try to pass federal legislation that protects the right to abortion, but to get it, and since Democrats don’t have the necessary two-thirds majority in the Senate, it’s something that would need to end with the practice of filibustering. At least one of the Democratic senators, Joe Manchin, is fiercely opposed to doing so.
If the leak, given the lack of precedent, harshly shook the reputation of the Supreme Court, the sentence deals a blow to the credibility of an institution of unparalleled power, increasingly hit by the shadows of politicization.
In the mandate of donald trump three of the judges were appointed who have established the supermajority of six conservatives against three progressives. The three nominations and the subsequent confirmation sessions in the Senate were charged with controversy and tension, and the same happened with the confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson, the judge nominated by Joe Biden to relieve Stephen Breyer.
In December, when the hearing was held for the Mississippi case that has now been decided by the Supreme Court, the progressive judge Sonia Sotomayor warned that the institution was increasingly shaken by these shadows of loss of independence and politicization of the issues it deals with. “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are only political acts?” She raised at the abortion hearing. “If people think this is all politics, how will we survive? How will the Tribunal survive?”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.