US Supreme Court Scrapping Abortion Rights Could Cause Years of Division, Experts Say
© AP Photo / Mariam ZuhaibDemonstrators protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, Thursday, May 5, 2022, in Washington.
© AP Photo / Mariam Zuhaib
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United States will face a wave of protests for years to come if the conservative-leaning Supreme Court goes ahead with the controversial repeal of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, as states will vote on whether to keep abortion rights, experts told Sputnik.
A rare leak of an initial draft majority opinion penned by Justice Samuel Alito and published by Politico this week revealed after months of rumors that the top court voted 5-4 in favor of overruling the 1973 landmark decision that guarantees federal protection of women’s reproductive rights.
The vote is not final, Politico says, but if Alito’s view of Roe as the cause of nationwide "debate and deepened division" gains traction in the nine-member court it will lead to a ban on abortions after 15 weeks in Mississippi and about half of the other states, predominantly in the South and Midwest.
Jason Manning, associate professor at West Virginia University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, told Sputnik that a repeal of the 49-year-old guarantee of abortion rights would unleash a wave of protests in Washington, DC and various cities and university campuses.
"I imagine that in coming months and years, some of the more conservative/rural/religious states will change their laws to be more restrictive of abortion, while the more liberal/urban/secular states will not. I would expect each change to be met with similar rounds of protest and controversy," he said.
Manning suggested that the resulting divergence in state laws would force women to seek medical help in more permissive states or "sort themselves out" by picking places for living in line with their cultural preferences.
Lindsay Pera, the founder and CEO of the wellness-oriented Modern Mystics Institute, said an end of unfettered access to necessary reproductive care would disproportionately hit Black women and the poor and lead to avoidable loss of life in the most vulnerable populations.
"Abortion will not stop," she warned. "Abortions happen spontaneously sometimes. Now, women can be prosecuted for their own body’s wisdom. There’s a woman in Texas in jail for that now."
Suzanne Wertman, a state government affairs consultant at the American College of Nurse-Midwives who worked as a midwife for 23 years, said that the conservative-leaning Supreme Court was using the argument about the sanctity of life to preserve social inequity.
"What it looks like is more maternal mortality, more inequity, more of the same: status quo. We already have so many restrictions on good care – poor care of women and children. This is just one more nail in the coffin… The most precious thing to Republicans is the unborn child. Once the child is born, they don't care," she said.
Pera echoed that sentiment, saying the current Supreme Court represented a minority religious view focused on perpetuating white supremacy. Former President Donald Trump, a Republican, made three what she called "illegitimate" nominations to the court in just under four years. His court picks will ensure a conservative, pro-life tilt for years to come, she added.
Kerra Bolton, a filmmaker and director, said the nation had come full circle in the struggle for control over women’s bodies, beginning during slavery and culminating with what the Supreme Court will likely do in the coming weeks or months. The former communications director for the Democratic National Committee slammed the Democrats for failing to support Barack Obama on the Supreme Court during the 2010 midterms and not preventing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg from stepping down in 2020.
"Democrats are such a weak party. They couldn’t do it when they were in power, they couldn’t do it when they were out of power. The truth is, they don’t want to," she told Sputnik. "If this is not animating enough, I don’t know what else the public needs to get animated."
Paul Gottfried, a political theorist and former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, accused the Democrats of whipping up "mass hysteria" about women losing their right to choose, arguing that abortion limits would be a move in a democratic direction.
"It is highly unlikely that our more leftist states, mostly on the two coasts, will do anything to restrict their existing, extravagant abortion rights. By the way, the efforts of some Southern states to restrict abortion to the first fifteen weeks of gestation is exactly the restriction that exists in most Western countries," he pointed out.
Stephen Baskerville, a professor at the Collegium Intermarium in Warsaw and president of the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Politics and Social Thought, agreed that it would be a democratic decision to end the "overreach" of the federal judiciary.
Baskerville accused President Joe Biden of having spent years as US senator trying to expand federal powers and predicted that the Roe repeal would undermine his authority. He also suggested that the disclosure of the draft opinion, a very rare breach of the top court’s secrecy rules, could have been orchestrated politically. Chief Justice John Roberts has ordered an investigation into the leak.