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Monday, February 6, 2023

The so-called “battle” over abortion rights in the United States is still raging fifty years after a judgement that is no longer in effect

Joe Biden, the President of the United States, said on Sunday that the struggle for abortion rights “isn’t done,” fifty years after a historic Supreme Court judgment had protected that right before the court reversed itself in June of last year.

The Democratic President wrote on Twitter that today should have been the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, referring to the court case that legalized abortion.

Instead, “MAGA Republican officials” — supporters of former President Donald Trump, who ran on the slogan “Make America Great Again” — “are waging an assault against women’s ability to make their own health care choices.”

Since the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling — a reversal made possible with the votes of three conservative justices appointed by Trump — approximately twenty states in the United States that are led by Republicans have passed laws that either outright ban abortion or severely restrict women’s access to abortion services.

During a weekend where opposing sides of a heated national debate held competing demonstrations, approximately 300 women in New York City demonstrated on Sunday in favor of abortion rights. They chanted slogans, such as “My body, my choice,” that were similar to those that were heard during the time of the initial Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973.

While speaking in Tallahassee, Florida, Vice President Kamala Harris added her voice to the chorus of those calling for the protection of abortion rights.

During her heated speech in front of a gathering of people who support the right to abortion, she exclaimed, “How could they?”

She criticized recent legislation restricting abortion that had been approved by “extremists,” notably in places like Florida, and she said, “We will not back down.” This was met with enthusiastic applause.

Abortions performed after 15 weeks are now illegal in the state of Florida, which is led by Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican who is seen as a rising star on the American right. This law makes no exceptions for cases involving rape or sexual assault.

According to Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit that advocates for abortion rights and also provides healthcare services to women, about one in three women in the United States now reside in a state that has severely restricted access to abortion services.

At the gathering that Harris was hosting, the president of the organization, McGill Johnson, said that “although what’s happening to patients and providers is awful, our movement is recharging.”

The war is now being fought at the state level the majority of the time, therefore Biden’s abilities in this area are quite restricted.

And organizations that oppose abortion and depend on support from the religious right have not backed down from their efforts to exert pressure.

On Friday, hundreds of people participated in demonstrations throughout the country to call for the prohibition of abortions nationally.

In a series of tweets that he sent on Sunday, President Biden said that “a woman’s right to choose is non-negotiable,” and he urged Congress to approve legislation that would codify the abortion rights that were outlined in the Roe v. Wade decision.

However, given that Republicans now have the majority in the House of Representatives, the lower house of Congress, it is very unlikely that legislation of this kind would be passed.

Since June, President Biden has been forced to make do with signing very restricted directives, such as granting permission for facilities run by the Veterans Administration to perform abortion services.

The White House is also interested in preserving access to tablets containing mifepristone, which may be used to terminate a pregnancy in its first few weeks of development.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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