Wednesday, 10 August, 2022
E-paper

US Supreme Court strikes down right to abortion

The US Supreme Court on Friday struck down the right to abortion in a seismic ruling that shredded five decades of constitutional protections and prompted several right-leaning states to impose immediate bans on the procedure.

Protests against the ruling broke out almost immediately in Washington and elsewhere, with dozens of demonstrations under way or planned across the country Friday evening, news reports said.

 The conservative-dominated court overturned the landmark 1973 "Roe v. Wade" decision enshrining a woman's right to an abortion, saying individual states can restrict or ban the procedure themselves.

 "The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion," the court said in a 6-3 ruling on one of America's most bitterly divisive issues. "The authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives."

A somber President Joe Biden called the ruling a "tragic error" stemming from "extreme ideology" and said it was a "sad day for the court and the country."

Hundreds of people -- some weeping for joy and others with grief -- gathered outside the fenced-off Supreme Court as the ruling came down.

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

 Altogether about two dozen states are expected to severely restrict or outright ban and criminalize abortions, forcing women to travel long distances to states that still permit the procedure.

Protesters marched in New York, Boston and elsewhere as anger over the decision among abortion rights proponents grew.

The court tossed out the legal argument in Roe v. 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 in the struggle against abortion by the religious right, leaders of the largely Christian conservative movement said it does not go far enough and they will push for a nationwide ban.

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

Women in states with strict anti-abortion laws will either have to continue with their pregnancy, undergo a clandestine abortion, obtain abortion pills, or travel to another state where it remains legal.

Several Democratic-ruled states, anticipating an influx, have taken steps to facilitate abortion and three of them -- California, Oregon and Washington -- issued a joint pledge to defend access in the wake of the court's decision.