Step into the gray past (nd-aktuell.de)


Photo: Photo: Agence France-Presse / Joseph Prezioso

It was long overdue, but the ruthless nature of the leak from the Washington Supreme Court was shocking: Conservative Justice Samuel Alito wrote the court’s majority opinion that upheld the Roe v. Wade from 1973 to the coup. Thus the current right to an abortion up to the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy would be declared unconstitutional and abolished. Instead, each state can balance the rights of women and fetuses as the elected officials in that state see fit, the judge said. Nearly 50 years of legal and social history are in danger of being overturned by this court’s majority opinion.

If this resolution is publicized this way, dark times loom – especially, but not just for inadvertently pregnant women. Twenty-three US states have already passed legislation that takes effect immediately after the ruling is formally announced. In Louisiana and Texas, all abortions will be illegal unless the pregnant woman’s life is in danger. In Utah there will be additional exceptions to the absolute ban after rape or incest. In recent years, laws have been tightened in many states, including by shrinking the abortion window. A Mississippi law limiting abortion to less than 15 weeks gave rise to the case of Roe v. Wade has since been accepted by the Supreme Court to make a decision rather than finding it wrong.

In his draft ruling, the judge justified the groundbreaking decision by saying that the original 18th century constitution did not mention abortion or the right to abortion. Moreover, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution comes from 1866, whose guarantee of liberty and equality forms the basis of the current abortion law, at a time when abortion was prohibited in three-quarters of the US states. Such a legal interpretation is not legally prevalent, but is called originalism. Accordingly, only what is provided literally in the Constitution is to be protected by constitutional law. Thus Alito’s fundamentalist style of argument reflects the modern history of the last half-century. The Biden administration warned in a letter to the court that this reasoning threatens all modern rights, such as the right to prevent pregnancy or same-sex marriage. Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD, a major US anti-discrimination NGO working on LGBTQI, warned in a press release: “None of us are any longer safe in the face of the extremist anti-women, LGBTQ ideology that pervades this court. We will fight back. in any way possible.”

Alito himself explicitly claims in the draft that his argument relates exclusively to abortion. Mitch McConnell, the opposition leader in the Senate, has claimed that Republicans are not seeking a national abortion ban. But reactions to Alito’s draft offer no hope of moderation.

In various states, such as Mississippi and Louisiana, efforts are being made to criminalize contraception using the IUD or IVF as advanced forms of abortion, in which fertilized egg cells can also be destroyed. Barely 48 hours after Alito’s text was announced, Republicans in Louisiana passed a bill: Pregnant women who attempt an abortion after the fusion of an egg and sperm can be charged with manslaughter or premeditated murder. It is punishable by life imprisonment or even death. “No compromises, no more waiting,” Reverend Livingston Baptiste and bill supporter Brian Gunter told the New York Times.

Almost half of the US states want to tighten laws according to the new legal status. The Guttmacher Institute calculates that only 35 percent of women of childbearing age, or 24 million people, live in liberal states. Fifty-eight percent of this population, nearly 40 million people, live in states that have or plan to implement restrictive abortion rules. The new regulations will harm the poor and disadvantaged the most. Black women had the highest abortion rate in 2019 at around 24 per 1,000, Hispanics at 12, and white women at a rate of 7.

Women who do not have the resources to travel for an abortion are also disadvantaged. According to figures from the Abortion Rights Institute, the average woman in Mississippi with an unintended pregnancy is required to travel 150 miles round trip to the nearest abortion clinic today, up from 750 miles under the new laws.

A law has already been passed in Oregon that could set aside $15 million to cover the costs of unborn children who will soon have to travel that far. Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governor of California, has also announced that he will make his state a “sanctuary state” in which unwittingly pregnant women from other states can have abortions.

An incident on the Texas-Mexico border earlier this year highlights the moral panic that has gripped republican states: After a miscarriage, 26-year-old Lisle Herrera was arrested and imprisoned in January on charges of manslaughter and self-abortion. The feminist group If/when/How paid $500,000 bail and Herreras legal counsel. Herrera was soon released and the charges were dropped.

Law professor Stephen Vladeck of the University of Texas at Austin explained the process to the feminist magazine Mrs. Magazine: The hospital reported Herrera’s miscarriage to the authorities; She felt compelled to do so under the new legislation. But according to the current legal situation, the prosecutors did not have the authority to arrest Herrera. For Vladik, this is an unmistakable sign that some prosecutors and police officers are just waiting for the law to be tightened.

In Texas, abortion is prohibited from the sixth week of pregnancy – at that point, not many pregnant women know they are pregnant. Even in the case of rape or incest, the law does not provide for exceptions. Additionally, individuals should sue physicians and assistants who engage in abortion. Parents, life partners, friends or taxi drivers can be sued.

Such conditions in the country are now increasing pressure on Biden to use his power. The Democrats control the Senate and the House of Representatives and provide the president. Biden and Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer made a somewhat symbolic attempt this week: The Senate on Wednesday voted on a bill that would have enshrined abortion rights at the federal level. By 49 to 51, deputies voted against officially allowing the bill to be put to a vote. One dissenting voice belongs to Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

The Democratic Party is turning its attention to the midterm elections in November, which it hopes will improve voting conditions. On the other hand, the feminist movement and its allies took to the streets to prevent the decline.

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