In Washington, several thousand people gathered on the National Mall at the weekend and then walked to the country’s Supreme Court. According to US media reports, people demonstrated in hundreds of cities across the country. An expected court decision is likely to result in massive restrictions on abortion rights with serious consequences for women in the country.
There is no federal law in the United States that allows or prohibits abortion. However, abortions are permitted at least until the fetus is viable – today around the 24th week. It is based on a 1973 US Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade is known. At the beginning of May, the magazine “Politico” published the draft of the Supreme Court’s verdict. It shows that the US Supreme Court is about to overturn this liberal abortion law. In the absence of federal legislation, the states would have jurisdiction. Numerous conservative-governed states want to largely ban abortion.
A speaker in Washington announced a “summer of anger”. “Abortion is health care” or “My body, my decision” was written, for example, on the signs of the demonstrators. “It was a slow process of disappointment. Gradually, we got used to the idea that we could lose our rights,” protester Leslie said. She just can’t believe she’s going back to a time when abortion was illegal and dangerous. The protest in the capital was largely peaceful.
Opponents of abortion had gathered on some street corners and at the Supreme Court in Washington for a counter-protest. They shouted at the demonstrators with megaphones, for example, that God would punish them. In New York, thousands of people ran across the world-famous Brooklyn Bridge into the Manhattan borough to demonstrate for abortion rights. People also took to the streets in other cities such as Los Angeles or Chicago.
Abortion rights have been the subject of heated debates in the United States. Opponents have been trying to overturn the liberal rules for decades. Under then-President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court moved significantly to the right. He is currently dealing with an abortion law in the US state of Mississippi. The fact that the court was dealing with the case at all had already been taken as a sign that Roe v. Wade could tip over. After the draft judgment had been passed, there was great outrage, especially among Republicans, about the so-called leak.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas condemned the piercing. “It was beyond anyone’s comprehension or at least imagination that anyone would do that,” he said. “We may have been a dysfunctional family, but we were family. And we loved it. I mean, you trusted each other,” he said. Thomas is counted among the conservative majority on the US Supreme Court, which he has served on since 1991.
US President Joe Biden’s Democrats, on the other hand, hope to be able to mobilize voters with a view to the congressional elections in November. According to polls, they are at risk of losing their majority in the Senate and House of Representatives. With their current narrow majority in the Senate, they cannot easily push through a nationwide abortion law. Polls show that only a minority of people in the country support Roe v. Wade should be tilted. According to the Gallup Institute, since the 1970s a majority has supported the right to abortion – with restrictions or under all circumstances.