Restrictive or protective, bills on abortion are flooding the parliaments of the American states by the hundreds in anticipation of a decision by the Supreme Court likely to upset the legal framework in force for nearly 50 years in the United States.
A total of 1,844 measures related to contraception and abortion were introduced in 46 states between January 1 and March 15, counted the Guttmacher Research Institute, which campaigns for the right of women to control their bodies.
Digging into already marked geographical gaps in terms of access to voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion), the elected representatives of the south and center of the country, more conservative and religious regions, are competing with each other in restrictive measures, while those on the coasts, more progressive, prepare guarantees to preserve the right to abortion in their States.
This frenzy began when the Supreme Court, reshuffled by Donald Trump, hinted that it could reverse its 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision which guaranteed the right of women to have an abortion during the first two trimesters of pregnancy.
In September, the high court, which now has six out of nine conservative judges, refused to block a Texas law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
“The political class took this as a green light to move forward with their own unconstitutional laws and have since decimated access to abortion, state by state, region by region,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president of the organization Planned. Parenthood operates numerous abortion clinics across the United States.
In December, the Court sent a new signal to the religious right: during the examination of a Mississippi law, reducing the legal deadline for abortion to fifteen weeks, some judges openly raised the possibility of overturning the judgment. “Roe v. Wade”.
“We hope that the Supreme Court will soon recognize that each state has the right to pass laws to protect unborn children and their mothers,” then commented Sue Liebel, an official of the anti-abortion association SBA List.
– Extra-uterine –
Abortion opponents take part in their annual march in Washington
Taking note before the hour of this probable reversal, local anti-abortion elected officials have introduced 519 restrictive measures since the beginning of the year, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Some of these proposals have made headlines because they go so far.
In Missouri, an elected official proposed to prohibit the termination of ectopic pregnancies, even though they are not viable and put the patient in danger. One of his colleagues suggested preventing women in this state from having abortions elsewhere.
Their texts, however, are only at a preliminary stage.
On the other hand, the Guttmacher Institute notes that bills tackling legal deadlines (Florida, Arizona, West Virginia, etc.) or medical abortions (South Dakota, Wyoming, Kentucky, etc.) are advancing quickly.
Several states have for their part copied the Texas law, which encourages citizens to sue doctors or clinics performing abortions beyond six weeks in exchange for thousands of dollars in “compensation”.
Idaho passed a law of this style on Tuesday, which only awaits the signature of the governor. Oklahoma, Missouri, and Wisconsin have comparable texts on the rails.
– Referendum –
A coat hanger, a symbol of illegal abortions, brandished during a demonstration for the right to abortion, in West Hollywood (California)
Two days after the adoption of the Idaho law, the Democratic governor of the neighboring state signed a text that looks very much like a response.
This one writes black on white that doctors, nurses, or any other medical personnel practicing abortions can never be prosecuted in the State of Washington.
Even if no local text threatened them, “this law is necessary in these perilous times for freedom of choice”, justified Governor Jay Inslee.
In other democratic states, elected officials are also anticipating the end of federal guarantees. The State of Vermont has thus adopted an amendment to its Constitution to engrave in stone the right to abortion. It will be put to a referendum in the November elections. Maryland is moving in the same direction.
In total, according to Planned Parenthood, more than 100 texts have been introduced by “the champions” of the right to abortion.