The Roe v. Supreme Court’s Wade turns the United States into a cautionary tale for the world
The January 6, 2021 insurrection on Capitol Hill prompted myriad politicians from other advanced democracies to point to the relative health of their republics and the greater decorum and maturity of their transfers of power. The ruthless record of mass shootings in the United States reminds observers in places like Canada, Australia and Britain of the greater wisdom of their countries’ gun laws.
And Friday’s decision by the United States Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade – the removal of the constitutional right to abortion – has led a host of world leaders from all political walks of life to present the United States as a cautionary tale, a warning to the world about how basic rights can be lost .
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a centre-left politician, called the decision “horrific”, tweeting that “no government, politician or man should tell a woman what she can and cannot do with his body”. Right-wing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the decision “clearly has massive impacts on the thinking of people around the world” and called it a “huge step backwards”.
French President Emmanuel Macron, a centrist, expressed his “solidarity” with those “whose freedoms are flouted by the Supreme Court”. French lawmakers on Saturday proposed a law that would enshrine the right to abortion in the French constitution.
“Nothing is impossible, and… women’s rights are always fragile rights and regularly called into question,” Aurore Bergé, who leads Macron’s party in parliament, told French radio, explaining that the court’s decision Supreme Court of the United States had motivated this legislative push. . “I think we shouldn’t take any risks in this area and therefore secure [the right to abortion] by enshrining it in our constitution.
full enjoyment of #SRHR is essential for the health and freedoms of individuals. Sweden 🇸🇪 is, and will remain, one of the most committed defenders of the right to abortion. Women and girls have the right to decide about their own bodies. #FeministForeignPolicy
— Swedish Embassy in the United States (@SwedeninUSA) June 24, 2022
The Troubled Paradox of American Democracy
When it comes to reproductive rights, the United States is now moving against the grain. “Over the past few decades, more than 50 countries have liberalized their abortion laws, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights, a global abortion rights group,” my colleagues explained. “Only the United States, Poland and Nicaragua have reduced access to abortion in the 21st century. Today, many US states are on the verge of enacting far more restrictive laws than most other developed countries.
American reproductive rights activists are already looking outside the country for inspiration. “Across Latin America, women green wave feminist organizers have supported strategic campaigns — and won the protection of these fundamental freedoms, despite intense opposition,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, a philanthropic organization. leading social justice organization, in a statement. “We view their success as a roadmap for advocacy and a beacon of hope in the broader fight for gender equality.”
At home, rights activists see a bleak picture. The reversal of the decision of the conservative majority Deer, some worries, sets the stage for possible further restriction of other rights, including that of same-sex marriage as well as protections for racial and ethnic minorities.
“I think it’s a perfect decision for the 18th century,” Rosalie Abella, a visiting professor at Harvard Law School who retired from the Supreme Court of Canada last summer, told The Globe and Mail on Friday. In her interview with the Canadian newspaper, the former judge compared the new decision to other infamous Supreme Court verdicts that deprived Americans of their basic rights, such as Dred Scott vs. Sandford in 1857, which said that Americans of African descent could never become citizens.
“To me, it’s as inconceivable as what they did today,” Abella said. “And yet they did. This is a frightening precedent that delegitimizes the integrity of a tribunal.
Pocos días me he sentido tan orgulloso de formar parte de la Suprema Corte de México como hoy.
Todos los derechos para todas las personas. Hasta que la igualdad y la dignidad se vuelvan costumbre. 💚💜🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️
— Arturo Zaldívar (@ArturoZaldivarL) June 24, 2022
How Abortion Laws in the United States Compare to Other Countries
The conservative majority in the Supreme Court is now in the spotlight. The militarization of the court by the American right is the ultimate goal of decades of concerted effort and campaigning. “The conservative movement’s control of the Supreme Court, its success in distorting the electoral process through vote restrictions and gerrymandering, and the likely collapse of Democrats in future terms have bolstered Republicans’ confidence in their ability to reshape radically American society on their terms without losing power,” wrote Adam Serwer of the Atlantic.
It is clear now, Serwer added, that “the Supreme Court has become an institution whose primary role is to impose a right-wing view of American society on the rest of the country.”
In this regard, the United States finds itself in rather unflattering company. Analysts are pointing the finger at Poland, whose ruling illiberal nationalist party has spent years revamping the justice system in its favor, much to the dismay of European Union leaders in Brussels. Last year, Poland’s Constitutional Court issued a ruling that made abortion, or aiding and abetting abortion, a criminal act, with exceptions only for rape, incest and protection of life from the mother.
Some Poles, like many Americans, saw in his determination an ideological act. “Many people in both countries perceive judicial institutions to be politicized,” Courtney Blackington, an American Fulbright scholar affiliated with the Polish Academy of Sciences and the University of Warsaw, told the Post’s Retropolis blog. “When the new abortion regulations came out last year, there were activists who told me they couldn’t respect them because they felt they came from an institution that no longer respected the law.”
In the aftermath of Friday’s Supreme Court decision, countless Americans expressed similar sentiments.