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The “America after Roe”: How the abortion ruling exacerbates the polarization of the USA

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The United States woke up this Saturday and turned into a foreign land for the 36 million women of childbearing age who live in states (at least 26 out of 50) where access to abortion is at risk, after the Supreme Court ruled on Sept The day before in a case historic judgment had overturned his federal protection. It was guaranteed by two separate judgments of this Supreme Court, Deer vs Wade (1973) and Casey against Planned Parenthood (1992). The six conservative justices, who voted to change a half-century precedent, are giving states back the power to legislate on the issue.

At the end of a historic day that marks a before and after in American jurisprudence, society and politics with as yet unforeseeable consequences, at least nine of them had already abolished abortion with immediate effect. Eight (from Alabama to Wisconsin and from Louisiana to Missouri, whose Attorney General Eric Schmitt didn’t have the minutes to run and be first) did so throughout Friday. The ninth, Oklahoma, passed legislation in May criminalizing virtually any termination of pregnancy from the point of conception and including measures to prosecute anyone involved in its practice.

From stupor to the loss of a taken-for-granted right to reproductive health, to the jubilation of those who saw the anti-abortion movement’s decades-earned victory, the reaction to the verdict showed the polarization of a deeply divided society (in which, according to various polls about two-thirds opposed the overturning of the 1973 verdict). The map that leaves what is already known as Post-Roe America it is painted with four colors: those of states that have already banned abortion; those planning to lift or limit it in the coming days or weeks; those for whom the decision depends on which party wins subsequent elections and those whose protections are expected to be maintained or reinforced.

“These judges know what they are doing: further dividing America. Abortion is the issue we face the most, over race,” said Joshua Prager, author of the Roe family, the most comprehensive investigation into Jane Roe, the plaintiff’s fictional name, Norma McCorvey.

Although the math is far from exact, 13 states have so-called trigger laws (trigger laws), which have been elected by lawmakers for years (the most recent being that of Wyoming) and awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court to trigger their legal effect immediately or within 30 days. This last group includes, for example, Texas, where they want to deviate further from the restrictions imposed by their famous people heartbeat norm, which bans abortion from the moment the fetus’s heart begins to work, around the sixth week, when many women have no way of knowing their status. In most cases, the texts provide exceptions when the mother’s health is at risk, but almost none allow the exception of rape or incest.

Iowa, Alabama, Ohio, Georgia, and South Carolina do not have immediate activation mechanisms, but they have issued regulations that have been stopped in court. With the change in the Colonel’s jurisprudence, there is no longer any reason for them not to regain their march.

Elizabeth Nash, Analyst at Guttmacher Institute, Reference Center for Women’s Reproductive Rights in the United States, in an interview with this newspaper, recalled the case in this changing mosaic of states (five, according to his calculations: Alabama, Arizona, North Carolina, Michigan and Wisconsin) that have Laws written before the sentence Deer vs Wade. Perhaps the most striking example is that of Michigan and its 1930 rule, which would go into effect immediately if the Republican Party, which controls the Senate and House of Representatives, had its way. The governor, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, and the attorney general will not allow that. Whitmer’s position is at stake in next November’s election, an election in which his party, led by President Joe Biden, is trying to push abortion into the campaign at all costs. The case of Pennsylvania is very similar.

At the next election date, the midterm general election, control of the Senate (which is renewing a third of its seats) and the entire House of Representatives is also at stake. Democrats hope Friday’s verdict Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization, Named after the Mississippi Clinic that sued your state over a law that sets the legal abortion period to 15 weeks, mobilize your bases and convert the undecided.

One of the ways to reverse this declining wave is to legislate abortion rights, but that requires a majority of 60 out of the 100 Senate seats, which is a long way off today (and a lot would need to happen in these months to paint things differently in November). For its part, the Republican Party has already warned (through the mouth of former Vice President Mike Pence) that its plans will also legislate to back up what has been achieved by adding judges of their kind to the Supreme Court (three, just at the time). in which Pence was in the position of second in command to Donald Trump).

Emboldened by their recent triumph, prominent leaders of the anti-abortion movement have already warned of their next goal: imposing bans on half the country that has no intention of restricting access to abortion for its citizens. Altogether there are 20 states (plus the city of Washington), from Alaska to California and from Nevada to New Hampshire, where this is beyond dispute. Many of those places, like Illinois, which has remained on the map like a drop of oil in a puddle of pro-abortion, have been preparing to take in an avalanche of patients from neighboring states. The next frontier for prohibitionists, warns University of California, Davis legal historian Mary Ziegler, is that the new laws could also prosecute these interstate travelers, as well as purchases of abortion pills, which, although risky, will become the only way out for them many Americans, especially for those on low incomes.

Clinics in cities like Montgomery (Alabama) or Sioux Falls (South Dakota) have already announced their closure. Others, like Jackson’s, who is the source of the excitement, move to another state to continue working. Gabriela Benazar Acosta, representative of Planned Parenthood, perhaps the most famous abortion advocacy group in the United States, whose headquarters are split between New York and Washington and has about forty branches across the country, stated this Friday that this is in their plans is not the case. These include the closure of health centers: “We don’t just offer abortions. Treatment for antenatal and sexually transmitted diseases and supplies of contraceptives will continue.”

They also plan to beef up the clinics, which are expected to double their duty to care for all patients arriving from other states. According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, which calculates that the number of surgeries in the USA has increased for the first time in three decades (9.8% between 2017 and 2020, from 862,320 to 930,160), a woman from Texas wants an abortion of the im average distance of 870 kilometers. If you live in Louisiana, that distance adds up to 1,070 kilometers. And if you’re a Mississippi neighbor, you’ll have to travel 500 miles.

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