The Supreme Court of the United States of America on Friday struck down historic Roe v. Wade ruling rendering abortion rights illegal effectively setting back the country by 50 years. It is now up to the states to legislate and regulate abortions and means that it is now immediately illegal in many US states to have an abortion procedure performed. One of the major consequences of this decision is that it would disproportionately affect low income and BIPoC (Blacks, Indigenous and People of Color) groups already disadvantaged in various way in the health system. The line of reasoning and basis for Friday’s ruling — the right to abortion does not constitute the concept of liberty as one of the country’s tenets — paves the way for further regression, including ending right to access to contraception, same-sex marriage, and inter-racial marriages.
It was already clear that the post-Trump US is an extremely polarized country whose fault lines are becoming clearer with every single day. But this level of gaining ground by the conservatives is indeed chilling for the democrats, progressive circles as well as the rights activists and groups. Today, the Supreme Court of the most powerful and richest country on earth has said no to the very basic of the women and gender minorities’ rights, bodily autonomy, whereby a woman or a person of another gender who can get pregnant could exercise their birth right of having full control over their body. This ruling essentially reinforces patriarchal structures and (cis)male dominance. It gives the society and politicians to meddle with private and intimate decisions surrounding bodies of women and people of other genders that can get pregnant.
With this ruling providing the basis and precedence, the Supreme Court is set to look at the similar rulings making rights possible for And to say that the minorities including the LGBTQIA+ community of the country might go to bed tonight feeling a bit insecure about meeting a similar fate in the times to come would be an understatement. And that’s being done not at the hands of a rogue force, but rather the rights are being eroded by the very institution that was supposed to protect them.
What many find absolutely diabolical is that the same Supreme Court set aside New York state’s anti-gun legislation to limit the gun violence terming it against the notorious 2nd amendment of the US constitution. It’s not surprising that many drew comparisons and expressed how ridiculous this is when women and gender minorities’ bodies are more controlled than the guns.
Who are the judges responsible for this?
Thanks to the former president Donald Trump’s nomination of three conservative justices, subsequently confirmed by the Senate into appointment, and with two Bush-appointed conservative justices, the assault on democracy and rights was now complete. The justices lived up to their expectations and delivered exactly what many have been dreading. The ones that voted to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling are Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett whereas those voted to upheld are Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Chief Justice John Roberts.
Jubilation beyond the US
The overturning and taking away of the fundamental right of bodily autonomy has consequences beyond the United States. This was evident from jubilation by conservatives also in other countries including European countries hoping to have a similar reversal of progress in their countries. This beyond-border conservative solidarity aside, the US is also a known exporter of fringe elements including conspiracy theories and white supremacy ideas into Europe. It’s not a coincidence that the far-right in many European countries tout rhetoric and conspiracy theories peddled by actors like QAnon.
The Nazi-era comparison
The US apex court’s ruling coincided with another abortion-related news that made headlines. This one coming out of Germany which the western media reported with headlines like this one: “Germany abolishes Nazi-era abortion law”.
Translation of the German user’s tweet: “If the New York Times terms the Section 219 as the “Nazi-era”[law], then has the USA officially stooped to the Nazi level with today’s ruling?”
What actually happened was, that the German parliament voted to strike down a Nazi-era law that forbade the doctors to advertise abortion related services. But again, the social media users were quick to spot the uncanny and stark contrast. One country is coming out of its Nazi past whereas the other one slipping into one. President Biden didn’t make it easier in his reaction where he said the Supreme Court had “literally” set the country behind by 150 years.
It’s a conundrum I’d say. That’s because I can’t predict what will come next… and yet, it’s not that difficult to imagine. Much to the horror of women and people of non-binary genders, the anti-abortion campaigners already announced they are not going to stop here and that they will only continue their assault on basic human right of bodily autonomy. With an environment like this, it’s no surprise that the gender and sexual minorities will go to bed feeling increasingly insecure in their own country tonight.