Tuesday May 03, 2022

US court could make abortion illegal: Report

US court could make abortion illegal: Report

The US Supreme Court building.

It is a brilliant journalist scoop in a long time in the United States. The Washington-based online newshounds who also publish a weekly claim to have obtained a copy of the draft majority opinion of the conservative Supreme Court judge, Samuel Alito, which has struck down the nearly half-century-old Roe vs Wade abortion rights judgement of the court, and it has predictably set off a storm in the country, with anti-abortionists and pro-abortion rights groups coming out on the streets of Washington. Reuters, the news agency, has said that it has not been able to confirm the authenticity of the leaked document, and it could not elicit a response from either the Supreme Court or from the White House. But both Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate who lost out to Republican Donald Trump in the 2016 election, and House of Representative Speaker and Democrat veteran Nancy Pelosi have come out with their statement, opposing the supposed Supreme Court verdict. Clinton sad, “This decision is a direct assault on the dignity, rights, &lives of women, not to mention decades of settled law.

It will kill and subjugate women even as a vast majority of Americans think abortion should be legal. What an utter disgrace.”  Pelosi and Senate Democrat Majority leader Chuck Schumer remarked: “The Republican-appointed justices’ reported votes to overturn Roe vs. Wade would go down as an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history.” Independent Senator Bernie Sanders said, “Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe vs. Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW.”

The Supreme Court was hearing an oral argument from the state of Mississippi, where abortion has been made illegal beyond the 15th week. The system in the court is that the judges meet informally and a vote is taken among them. Then the majority decision is written by one of them. In this case, Justice Alito has been asked to write the majority opinion, and it is the draft of Alito’s judgment that Politico obtained and published. Four of President Trump appointed conservative judges have voted for the quashing of Roe vs. Wade and they are justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, and Brett Kavanaugh voted with Alito.

But when the judgment is finally delivered, and it is expected that it will be in June, the alignments might change. If one of the conservative judges walks to the liberal side, and interestingly Chief Justice John Roberts, who is considered a conservative, has shifted his position to the liberal side on some of the issues, then Roe vs. Wade would be upheld. It is also interesting that under Roe vs. Wade, abortion is allowed until 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy.

In the draft of his opinion, which is leaked, Justice Alito has said, “Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit citizens of each state from regulating or prohibiting abortion.” This would mean that each state can make its own abortion law, and there would be a division among the conservative and liberal states. Liberal states like California and New York, Pennsylvania and Maine will keep to Roe vs. Wade, while conservative states like Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi would go with the conservatives.

This will create a veritable divide across the United States. Abortion has been a hard fought issue between the liberals and conservatives. Right from the day it was pronounced in 1973, the opponents of the liberal abortion law had vowed to fight it and overturn it. But it is not yet done, and the anti-Roe vs.Wade lobby is in a minority. According to a 2021 Pew Research Centre survey, only 39 per cent said abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, and 59 per cent said it should be legal in all or most cases.



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