US Supreme Court ends constitutional right to abortion

1. US
Demonstrators gather at Copley Square to rally and protest after the US Supreme Court struck down the right to abortion in Boston, Massachusetts on June 24, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
WASHINGTON, DC — The US Supreme Court on Friday ended the right to abortion in a seismic ruling that shreds half a century of constitutional protections on one of the most divisive and bitterly fought issues in American political life.اضافة اعلان

The conservative-dominated court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe vs Wade” decision that enshrined a woman’s right to an abortion and said individual states can permit or restrict the procedure themselves.

“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” the court said.

Protesters were expected to pour onto streets across the US on Saturday as anger flared over the court’s decision. Several right-leaning states imposed immediate bans on abortion.

A somber President Joe Biden called the ruling a “tragic error” stemming from “extreme ideology”.

“The health and life of women in this nation are now at risk,” Biden said, warning that other rights such as same-sex marriage and contraception could be threatened next.

The Democratic president urged Congress to restore abortion protections as federal law and said Roe would be “on the ballot” in November’s midterm elections.

Criticism of the Supreme Court decision also came from abroad, including from US allies like Britain, whose Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it “a big step backwards”.

Canada’s leader Justin Trudeau said it was “horrific”, and French President Emmanuel Macron voiced his “solidarity with women whose freedoms are today challenged”.

Acknowledging the international concerns, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted his department would “remain fully committed to helping provide access to reproductive health services and advancing reproductive rights around the world”.

‘You have failed us’
Hundreds of people — some weeping for joy and others with grief — gathered outside the fenced-off Supreme Court on Friday as the ruling came down.

“You have failed us,” read a sign held up by one protester. “Shame,” said another.

But Gwen Charles, a 21-year-old opponent of abortion, was jubilant.

“This is the day that we have been waiting for,” Charles told AFP. “We get to usher in a new culture of life in the US.”

As of Friday evening, at least seven states had already banned abortion — Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

Many more are expected to follow suit or severely restrict the procedure.

Protesters also marched in New York, Boston, and other US cities as anger grew.

There were incidents at some demonstrations on Friday, including one in the Iowa city of Cedar Rapids, where a pickup truck drove through a group of protesters, running over at least one woman’s foot, according to local media reports.

In Arizona, CNN reported that authorities used tear gas to disperse protesters on Friday night after they “repeatedly pounded on the glass doors of the State Senate Building,” according to Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesperson Bart Graves.

‘Egregiously wrong’
In the majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito said Roe vs Wade was “egregiously wrong”.

“Abortion presents a profound moral issue on which Americans hold sharply conflicting views,” he said. “The constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion.”

The court tossed out the legal argument in Roe vs Wade that women had the right to abortion based on the constitutional right to privacy with regard to their own bodies.

While the ruling represents a victory for the religious right, leaders of the Christian conservative movement said it does not go far enough and they will push for a nationwide ban.

“While it’s a major step in the right direction, overturning Roe does not end abortion,” said the group March for Life.

“God made the decision,” said former Republican president Donald Trump while praising the ruling.

The decision was made possible by Trump’s nomination to the court of three conservative justices — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.

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

Ten others have pre-1973 laws that could go into force or legislation that would ban abortion after six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant.

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