Fresh protests as new US abortion reality takes shape

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Abortion rights demonstrators gather near the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, on Saturday. AFP

Abortion rights defenders fanned out across America Saturday for a second day of protest against the Supreme Court’s thunderbolt ruling, as state after conservative state moved swiftly to ban the procedure.

The deeply polarised country grappled with a new level of division: between states that will now or soon deny the right to abortion, enshrined since 1973, and those that still allow it.

A few thousand people thronged the streets Saturday outside the fenced-off Supreme Court in Washington, in hot summer weather, carrying signs that read “War on women, who’s next?” and “No uterus, No opinion.”


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“What happened yesterday is indescribable and disgusting,” said Mia Stagner, 19, a political science major in college. “Being forced to be a mother is not something any woman should have to do.”

Demonstrations also took place in Los Angeles, with dozens of smaller rallies from coast to coast.

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Abortion rights demonstrators hold signs as they gather to protest near the State Capitol in Austin, Texas. AFP

At least eight right-leaning states imposed immediate bans on abortion — with a similar number to follow suit in coming weeks — after the Supreme Court eliminated 50-year-old constitutional protections for the procedure, drawing criticism from some of America’s closest allies around the world.

Fueling the mobilisation, many now fear that the Supreme Court, with a clear conservative majority made possible by Donald Trump, might next set its sights on rights like same-sex marriage and contraception.

President Joe Biden — who has likewise voiced concerns the court might not stop at abortion — spoke out again Saturday against the “shocking decision.”

“I know how painful and devastating the decision is for so many Americans,” said the president, who has urged Congress to restore abortion protections as federal law, and vowed the issue would be on the ballot in November’s midterm elections.

Women in states that severely restrict abortion or outlaw it altogether will either have to continue with their pregnancy, undergo a clandestine abortion, obtain abortion pills, or travel to another state where it remains legal.

But “most women don’t have the time of day or the financial resources to travel across state lines to get an abortion,” Mikayla Marcum, a 23-year-old originally from Texas, told AFP at the Supreme Court on Saturday.

“We are going to see some nightmare scenarios, sadly,” Biden’s spokeswoman Karine Jean Pierre told reporters on Air Force One, as the president headed to Europe for Group of Seven and NATO summits.

“That is not hypothetical,” she said.

Agence France-Presse

 

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