Possible US abortion ban, an indictment of democracy

Thursday, May 5th, 2022 02:38 | By
Protesters hold anti-abortion placards. Photo/PD/FILE

The leaked news that the Supreme Court of the United States (US) is poised to overturn the country’s full abortion rights enjoyed by Americans for almost half a decade, has reverberated across the social and political spectrum.

According to the document published in the influential “Politico” on Tuesday, a Supreme Court majority draft opinion seeks to abolish the 1973 Roe v Wade decision that legalized abortion.

In an interview on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, the broadcaster’s legal analyst and Supreme Court biographer Joan Biskupic captured the mixture of fear and anger that must have now pervaded among the millions of so called pro-choice supporters. She termed the draft opinion as “Stunning on so many levels” and would be “a jolt and ten times a bolt”.

As a devout Catholic, the inspiration behind the new Bill is a no-brainer. Moreover, it is assumed that Republican President Joe Biden is definitely a pro-lifer, a group that sees no or little justification for abortion.

A blanket anti-abortion legislation also has the potential to break the 50-State American nation down the middle by polarising conservative and liberal states, the Republicans versus the Democrats. For instance, the pro-abortion California Governor Democrat Gavin Newsom immediately termed the draft opinion as an “appalling attack” on women and would reverse their fundamental constitutional gains.

However, with the forthcoming midterm elections in November, Biden is playing it cool, cognizant of the fact that the draft opinion has put him in a political straitjacket. Experts see his statement the same day that the White House would protect the current abortion laws as insincere, an attempt at political expediency.

Political meddling by the White House in such a sensitive constitutional matter would complicate the matrix that moves on its own volition. We expect subsequent opinion polls on abortion to give a clear indication of the impact on the midterms of the draft opinion if it sailed through at the end of June, even as Biden defended a woman’s right to choose and advised voters to elect pro-choice officials in November.

If the US Supreme Court manages to repeal the pro-abortion law, the effects will also be felt globally. The country has spent millions of dollars advocating, lobbying and even threatening governments to draft and pass pro-choice legislations. It will also expose the internal contradictions of US liberalism, which will weaken supporters of its democratic principles.

Indeed, the effect of proscribing abortion on the concept of US democracy will also be dire. Abortion presupposes an inalienable right of a woman to do whatever she wills with her body, which is one of the highest tenets of Western democracy.

Taking away or curtailing that right will pass the message that rights are not absolute, neither are they cast in stone. In the same way they were passed, they can also be removed with the stroke of a pen. 

The biggest scare to Americans if the draft opinion passes into law, though unspoken, is what will go down next. The fact that it is possible to throw a 50-year precedent out of the window means that nothing can be taken for granted.

Not even the contentious gun laws that have led to thousands of deaths of innocent American citizens. It is a watershed moment that will have a significant impact on the U.S.’s views on “morality”, whether motivated by religion or conscience. 

Abortion is an extremely abortive issue and the draft opinion is bound to replay the raw emotions and unprecedented partisanship between the Republicans and the Democrats experienced during the proposed COVID-19 control measures proposed by President Donald Trump’s administration.

Well, moralists and religious adherents would say that the US has seen the light and could be regaining and saving its soul, which it sacrificed long ago on the altar of hegemonism.

— The writer comments on international affairs

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